Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lord of the Dance - The Noble and the Ignoble

(written in February of 2011)

A dear friend of mine invited me to see the the Lord of the Dance with her and her family, and we went to see the show yesterday afternoon. The show was wonderfully done and was very inspiring. (It made me want to learn how to tap dance!) As I was enjoying the musicality and precision of all those tap dancers on the stage, I noticed that most of the dance pieces had a main "star" (or stars) that led the activity. These stars brought life, personality, and meaning to the entire production, carrying the story along. As I pondered this (in the midst of Irish jigs and synchronized lights), I had a new thought about the meaning of "special use" verses "common use" in relation to mankind as described in Scripture.

Paul uses the metaphor of clay and kitchen utensils to teach us something about how God accomplishes His purposes through mankind:
"Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?" -- Romans 9:21, NIV

"In a large house there are not only utensils made of gold and silver, but also those made of wood and clay. Some are for special use, while others are for ordinary use." -- 2 Timothy 2:20, ISV
He points out that some things are designated for special purposes while other things are designated for common (or ordinary) purposes. What does this mean? Does it mean that God likes certain people better than others? Does it mean that he gives certain people all the attention and turns a cold shoulder to the others? No, I don't think so. And that became clear to me as I was watching the Lord of the Dance yesterday.

On the stage, there could only be one lord of the dance. In the midst of many dancers flawlessly weaving and intermingling in strict arrangements, one free spirit fleeted aberrantly among them. Though this one was apparently moving against the grain, in due time it became clear that this dancer was special. Sure enough, it was then that the lord of the dance showed off his solo skills to the amazement of the crowd. He pranced around, rallying support from the audience, and provoking a few laughs with his sense of humor. It may seem as though this one special dancer is the most important part of the show, but actually, the beauty of the production depends both upon the special dancer and the common dancers. The special and common dancers each have different roles to play, but they are both dependent on one another for the act to be perfect and complete.

I think that we can make some parallels here to our world at large. There are billions of people in the world today, and they are all part of a grand story. They all play a unique role, but some are called to go against the grain of ordinary life. Some are called to be leaders--to initiate change, to rally support, and to give direction. Each role comes with a different set of responsibilities, and yet none can fully operate without the others.

"Special" and "common" does not denote worth; rather, it denotes role and responsibility. There is a lot more attention on the lord of the dance because of his lead role, but he also has a lot more responsibility than the other dancers to perform with excellence so as to create fans and draw large audiences to the show. I think it is the same with God's appointment of certain individuals for "special" and "common" use. Some people need to be selected to create large pockets of influence in and beyond the church so that God's Kingdom can spread effectively, in an orderly fashion.

It also occurred to me that while one person may play the role of "lord of the dance" in one performance, a different person may play that role in another performance. I think it is that way with God's appointments, too. God can (and does) appoint individuals to play certain roles during certain seasons.

Certainly, God is always looking for people who are willing to be His star performers (Isaiah 6:8, 2 Chronicles 16:9). His auditions come in the form of tests and trials (Job 1:8, James 1:2-4), and He is looking for anyone who is ready to take on the responsibility of the roles He has available to assign.

Don't worry whether you have been made to be special or common. I think that is the wrong way to think about it. Everyone is designed for great things..... But the real question is, are you ready for what God has dreamed for you?

No comments:

Post a Comment