The guy in the white, skinny jeans was staring at my wife from the concert stage. He bounced in rhythm behind his electric guitar and gave his best “smoky eye” looks her way as she stood next to me on the front row. She thought it was funny. Not me. I thought he looked weird and uncomfortable.
The lead singer sounded better than ever. However, she tugged on her dress, spilled water on her piano, and led the crowd in a few awkward moments between songs. Well into our thirties and on the front row, that night we saw humanity in a super star. We’d long admired her songwriting skill and silky clean voice. We assumed her life was just as silky and clean, with very few mess-ups. Seeing her perform live that night, we didn’t get that feeling.
Humanity is a funny thing. When we pull people off of our stages and screens, we realize we hold a lot of basic things in common—breathing, being hungry, and experiencing pain. This levels the playing field. We have days where we feel on top of the world, and we have (more) days where we just feel the grind. We feel tired. We find out a friend is hurting. A relationship gets fractured. We procrastinate about a difficult decision. I have more days when I’m just trying to walk next to Jesus and it’s all I can do to breathe in and out and put one foot in front of the other.
Being human puts us on an equal playing field with the people on the platforms. That’s good news. But, there are also some really beautiful things associated with the gospel that level the playing field for spiritual influence as well. That’s even better news.
After Jesus rose from the dead and before he went back to be with the Father, he stood on a hill and shared something with his disciples that changed everything for the rest of us. He said, “Go.” He told them to rise and live a life of mission. My life would look differently today had it not been for a collision with the grace of the gospel. It’s not always pretty for me, and it wasn’t always pretty for the disciples, who got much needed help when the Spirit showed up. The gospel has a way of causing a ruckus and moving forward, and we get to play a part in the advancing story.
Not only is the superstar on stage just as human as we are, but so is the spiritual giant who always says the right thing and has all the best stories. We are all equally desperate for God’s grace, and equally capable of greatness. Not the kind of greatness that makes the Huffington Post but the kind that shouts a giant shout in the halls of eternity.
In other words, each of us can have the most profound impact possible. You and I can have the most significant conversation ever possible: a conversation where the gospel message moves across the line and takes root in a person’s life, transferring their heart from darkness to light. The greatest conversation of all time can be had by any of us, and there’s no need for a guitar or super-tight jeans, which is really good news for me.