Playing Second Fiddle

Let the hype begin!  Today is Super Bowl Eve and the airwaves are full of football, football, and more football.  When football aficionados go to bed tonight, they will hang their stockings on the chimney with care in hopes that a win will soon be there.

While I am not a huge fan of either the Patriots or the Giants, I’ll probably cheer a little harder for Eli, his offensive line and the rest of the team.  I hope you noticed that I mentioned the seldom-credited offensive line.

Usually the offensive line is not mentioned unless a player jumps offside or gets called for a hold.  They are the perennial second fiddlers of the world of football.

Second fiddle can be a very important position.  A good example of this is Ernie Adams.  To be honest, today is the first time I have ever heard the name Ernie Adams.  In the story I just read, Adam’s is described as one of Bill Belichick’s closest advisors.  This second fiddler is the secret weapon of the Patriots.

As I was thinking about the important role of playing second fiddle, I found a comment by the celebrated maestro, Leonard Bernstein.  He was asked which instrument in the orchestra would be the most difficult to play.  Without hesitation, Bernstein said:  Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm or second French horn or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.

The words of President Harry Truman can be applied to the concept of playing second fiddle:  It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

History has been full of people like Ernie Adams, we just don’t hear much about them.  They are more concerned with the melody and harmony of life than they are with the world acclaimed solos.

If it had not been for another second fiddler, the course of Christianity may have taken a different path.  Barnabas is the man of whom I speak.  He was called the son of consolation.  He was the guy who would pat you on the back and say:  You can do it.  Come on, I’ll help you get it done.

The most notable person that Barnabas helped was the Apostle Paul.  Because of his past history, Paul was shunned by most Christians.  Not so with Barnabas, he welcomed him with open arms.

The confirmation and encouragement of Barnabas empowered Paul as an individual and Christianity as a whole.  Barnabas wasn’t concerned with who was going to get the credit, he just wanted to accomplish something for the Cross.

Henri Nouwen may have captured the essence of playing second fiddle when he said:  When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

I hope you take the time to think a thought about who it is that you can help today or some where along the way.

2 thoughts on “Playing Second Fiddle

  1. The Wichita Eagle had a stroy about Steve Wozniak in today’s Saturday edition. When people hear the word Apple, they are more prone to think of Steve Jobs than are to remember the co-founder Wozniak……..another second fiddle?


  2. I like this because I have always identified with Barnabas. I don’t have much in the way of spiritual gifts, but would hope that I can at the very least encourage those the Lord puts in my life.


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