The Other Man’s Suit
There I sat in the midst of a jeering audience as they enthusiastically responded to the young speaker standing before us. I watched him as he made jerky movements with his body to entertain his audience; and as he varied the tone of his voice like an engine to drive his point home. With all my heart, I desired to be enraptured like the rest of the audience was. But….nothing. I remained deflated.
I was distracted by the jigs, the movements, the engine runs of his voice. Not because there’s anything wrong with these things. But on our young speaker, it just didn’t feel real. So, while many others howled and jeered I sat still, dissatisfied. And how unfortunate, because at the time, I was desperate for a word of encouragement. I would have readily given my attention to whoever had that word, but our speaker’s agenda was merely to entertain. This was church.
What I saw felt a bit like a man wearing another man’s suit — another man’s style — and trying to play it off as his own. Perhaps he had seen it work on others in the past. He had seen the jigs and antics win an audience when others had tried it, and so he settled for the same antics, knowing that it would get attention. So I wondered, are the people truly inspired to change? Or, are they just fleetingly entertained for now?
Soon enough, it ended. The speaker calmed down, panting to catch his breath. The room fell quiet as he wiped off beds of sweat from his face. And then, he recited a scripture from his heart. I heaved a sigh as tears welled up in my eyes. The scripture met me right in the valley I was walking in at that point in time. After the jigs and the drowling engine voice, there was a sincere moment that inspired a true heart response. Finally.
That night, I asked myself a question: how many times have you tried to do the things you are called to do with someone else’s approach? Perhaps because it was what the people around you expected. Or perhaps because it was the safest route. How many times have you tried to wear the other man’s suit, attempting to pull it off as your own?
Here’s the funny thing about doing that: It may get some applause, some nods of approval from ‘the powers that be.’ It may amuse those who cheer for you in that moment. But at the end of the day, the results are very short lived. You attempt to carry another persona, thereby making yourself insignificant.
A scripture says: we are God’s workmanship. Read another way, we are God’s Masterpiece. I am God’s masterpiece — a creation made in Christ to do good works. So attempting to do my good works with another person’s style is like saying the masterpiece God has created in me is not enough for the task at hand.
I get it. At times it’s unpopular to let the real you shine through. At times, there’s pressure to conform. But if you look at known legends, that’s exactly what they did to make their impact on earth. Only then did the rest of the world recognize them for the masterpieces that they were.
Originally published at lebanoncedar.me on January 30, 2016.