With the finals now over, we are all anticipating the next year’s season and all of the excitement that watching the battle for first place will bring. Of course, this has nothing to do with basketball. I’m talking American Idol—A.I. for the diehards. I used to be one of them myself, but after Kelly and Ruben, the contestants’ desperation became a little too sour for my personal taste. I admit though, I didn’t entirely give up on A.I. Those first few episodes still managed spark my interest. You know, the ones with the atrociously horrible wannabe singers, who have been brainwashed into thinking that they could actually carry a tune? Hearing the judges’ witty comments and tongue-in-cheek rejections were as entertaining prime-time reality TV gets. I’ll readily accept the label of a dream killer for that. With all sarcasm aside though, there is something to be noted from my affinity for the culling process. The producers of the show want money. To make money, they need a great show. For a great show, they need… (insert drum roll here) You guessed it: great singers! This is million-dollar television we’re dealing with here. The sound quality, wardrobe, schedule, and execution undoubtedly all must be many levels above top-notch. This one’s for the money.
Then, like a crazed and emotionally unstable nut case, I snap and am immediately filled with indignation. Why? Because I just came from a gospel concert that started late, with bad singers and a finicky sound system. Adding to the chagrin, each person had a Ned Flanders-esque smile on their face, rationalizing the subpar quality with the statement, “It’s all for the Lord.”
You have got to be kidding me.
Take a poll of individuals that claim to believe in God, even in the slightest bit.
“Is greater than money?” They’ll answer yes.
“Is God greater than fame?” Yes.
“Is God better than prime time ratings?” Yes.
Even with this common ground that confirms God is greater than idols, somehow there are individuals convinced that His work is not worth half of the effort.
You have got to be kidding me.
If you cannot already tell, this is an issue that irks me to my core. I am all the way tired of the word ‘Christian’ connoting ‘lackluster’ and ‘thrown-together’ production that is joyfully arrogant in receiving constructive criticism because “it’s all for the Lord.” Things of the highest caliber are often described as ‘fit for a king.’ The King over all of those kings deserves better.
Now, for a disclaimer to keep the message board a bit less cluttered with replies:
This is by no means stating that only the most skilled of performers, orators, and directors should be allowed to worship the King. All creation is called to make noise, get excited, and live out a life that shows continual gratitude to the merciful Savior who has graced all of His children with His Spirit, and gifts to encourage one another and glorify Him. However, there is an all-encompassing element of excellence that is often overlooked.
The solution to this calls for a few things. First, there has to be a laser-like focus on Christ, not our own aspirations. Also, there has to be a clear understanding of the areas in which we are gifted, and those where we are not. Lastly, we have to get out of the bed and on the grind. Work to exhaust every resource provided by God in order to grow ourselves into the perfection of skill and talent that God has set before each of us. No falling short in laziness. No stumbling sidetracked with jealousy.
This is a call to encourage all of the Master’s children to live out the words of 2 Corinthians 10:13 and Colossians 3:23. If you do anything, ANYTHING, do it like Jesus was right in front of you cheering you on to do your best, and empowering you to do better.
In reality, He is.
Osato is a rap artist who currently resides in Arlington, Texas. He serves in youth leadership at Grace Community Church and also participates in efforts to disciple college-aged men, all while spearheading the independent recording label WTK Music. Follow him on Twitter at @osatoWTK