An admirer once asked the conductor, Leonard Bernstein: “Which instrument is hardest to play?” He replied without hesitation: “Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin, … now that’s a problem. And yet, if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”
The underlying cause of disharmony is often the restless ambition to make a name for ourselves. This is very clear in Genesis 11:4 when some people got together and said: “Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.” God punished their push for prominence by confusing their language. The result? The horrible racial, linguistic, and cultural divisions which still haunt us today.
Yet despite these tragic consequences, many are still trying to make a name for themselves. People still have an insatiable lust to reach the pinnacle of fame and power even if it means treating their ‘friends’ as competitors. At the extreme, some even view their own family as bothersome burdens slowing their ascent up the tower of success. The tragic result is broken relationships and scarred souls.
Our lives should never be characterized by restless striving for greatness. Instead, as Paul says, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life….”
Let me leave you with this: Restless rivers are shallow, but quiet rivers are deep. Do you want to lead a quiet life? Then get deep in God and go with His flow. Don’t try to fight your way upstream. Be still and know that He is God.
Have you learned how to lead a quiet life without becoming a hermit? Send me your thoughts.