Summary: Being a Second fiddles isn't necessarily a bad thing - consider Andrew.
“Jesus 101: The Life of Second Fiddles”
Have you ever stood in the shadow of someone else, by whom you were always compared? It didn’t matter how good you were, or how well you performed; they were always the star, always got the solo, and always got the publicity and press notices. Did you ever begin to feel that your lot in life would always be to play second fiddle, never first chair? You should feel right at home this morning with our Scripture readings, especially with Andrew in John’s Gospel.
SECOND FIDDLES ARE A FACT OF LIFE. I know not only from observation but also PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. In high school, since my sister was older – and smarter – than I was, I was first known as ‘Shirley’s brother.’ I played the cello in the orchestra – there were only two of us but Patty was top-drawer – Junior symphony, the whole bit; I didn’t stand a chance for first chair, even if had practiced more! (I’ll have you know I did play first chair my senior year, however – because she decided not to play that year!). When I went to Central College in Pella, Iowa my roommate was from a family with a long history at the college. I was often known as ‘Paul’s roommate.’ When I went to Western Seminary the pastor of my home church taught some seminary classes – I was first known as ‘from John Tien’s church.’ When I began ministry as an associate pastor I was known as ‘Jack’s associate.’ My father was a judge in Kalamazoo County, so when I returned to my home town of Kalamazoo to serve Trinity Reformed, I was often referred to as “Judge Pikkaart’s son.” And so it goes.
Most of you have similar experiences you could share. And being second fiddle all the time IT’S EASY TO GET A COMPLEX, to feel less important, to stop trying so hard. After all, to amount to anything we’re supposed to be #1, aren’t we? Let’s face it - how long are the 2nd place finishers, the runners-up remembered? “Who lost to so-and-so in the finals of such-and-such a year?” becomes a trivia question.
If you’ve ever been there, take heart – the Bible has not forgotten us! Consider the second fiddle of THE DISCIPLES, ANDREW. He was equal in rank to the 11 other disciples. Yet the best known fact about him is that he was Simon Peter’s brother. Even if he’s doing something distinctive or outstanding, the Gospel writers introduce him as Simon Peter’s brother. The Bible dictionaries and commentaries say very little about him. Luke never mentions his name. Brother Peter, who denied knowing Jesus, is even mentioned first in the list of the disciples. Peter, James, and John were invited to the Transfiguration – not Andrew. Peter, James, and John were invited to the inner circle when Jesus prayed in Gethsemane – not Andrew. When Jesus went to raise the ruler Jairus’ daughter from death he took – you guessed it – Peter, James, and John – not Andrew. I wonder if Andrew ever thought, “What’s a guy have to do to get some recognition around here?” I don’t know if Andrew ever thought it, but I know many Christians who have. Some have even left churches because of it.
But Andrew understood his life – his story – had its own purpose, an important one. He knew that SECOND FIDDLES ARE A FORCE IN LIFE. What would an orchestra of only first chairs sound like? There would be little harmony. First chairs can’t play all the notes and cover all the music. Someone needs to provide the harmony that makes the composition glorious. In life, as in an orchestra, IT IS SECOND FIDDLES THAT BRING COMPLETENESS.
In the history of Christianity we need Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Billy Graham, David Jeremiah, Rick Warren and so many other first chairs. But they can’t do it all – they can’t reach all. Someone must minister to those they reach and someone must reach those they cannot reach. In Paul’s terminology, a body can’t be all heads, or all mouths; bodies must have brains, hands, legs, and feet to be complete.
We look again at ANDREW. He had been following John the Baptist. He had listened and learned from him – he had tuned his life by John. So when John pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God Andrew followed Jesus and fulfilled his unique role. He stood in the LINE OF David the Psalmist. David wrote (Ps. 40:1-3): “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” David understood that his slimy pit was not insignificant, that God had something greater in mind, so he waited patiently. The result? “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. God delivered him. And because God delivered him, David had a new experience with God to share, A NEW SONG TO SING, A NEW STORY TO TELL. As A. P. Gibbs put it, God moved David “out of the mire, into the choir.” In verse 9 David wrote, “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.” David’s experience with God was too great to be hoarded – it needed to be shared.