Reading this morning, I looked afresh at the opening verses of Mark’s Gospel. Impatient Mark, wanting to rush right into the crux of his story without any of the apparently long preamble of the other Gospel writers, gets straight to action;
“The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way” —
3 “a voice of one calling in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.'” (Mark 1:1-3)
The next verse states simply, “So John came …”
No introduction is needed; obviously people knew who this radical guy with the camel hair robe was. The focus is immediately on John, God’s messenger, sent at just the right time, preaching his heart out. And he got an amazing response;
“The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”(Mark 1:5)
But note the astonishing grace of this highly successful preacher. He says:
“After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”(Mark 1:7)
I have read that verse many times, but re-read it today in The Message, which states:
“The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life”.
A Stagehand of The Star.
A stagehand can make or break a drama production. They will be the ones into the theatre first, and usually go out last. They are the unsung heroes who make everyone else look good. They literally put the platform in place, so that the speech/play- or sermon- is heard properly, and effectively. They are the ones who “make straight paths”.
John the Baptist put everything into preparing a platform for Christ. Jesus’ disciple John phrased this concept perfectly, when he said;
“He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease “(John 3:30).
You may not consider that what you do for God is glamorous. It may not involve a public presence on a stage. But if you are preparing the way for God to be promoted, for the message to be delivered with clarity, or for someone else’s ministry to be birthed and flourish, then you are one of God’s stagehands. You might try very hesitantly to share your testimony with a friend, and come home feeling that you were useless at it. However, God will use that platform to build His message into their hearts.
God’s stagehands do not only function inside a church building, or at a conference. Every task they perform, anywhere, can be moulded by God into a platform for the Gospel.
You may well be one of a team of stagehands – some literal platforms are heavy and HUGE, and require disciplined teamwork to manoeuvre them into exactly the right position. You might be a team player in God, knowing those who work alongside you. Faithfully work towards effectiveness in ministry.
Sometimes, God’s teams may be many miles apart, one person adding their own unique element of a global jigsaw into position in God. The “piece” you place might not make sense to you, but God knows exactly where and when it needs to be placed.
Value the stagehands.
- Have you considered lately that what you do is insignificant?
- How might this thinking change if you considered yourself to be one of God’s Stagehands?
- Think of someone close to you that you could build a platform for; what would you have to do?
- Pray over those you know who already fulfil stagehand roles in God; they are often invisible to the public, but need a lot of prayer!