)ne day, a woman came up to Leonard Bernstein, the famous composer and conductor, and asked him, “Mr. Bernstein, of all the instruments in the orchestra which is the most difficult to play?” He told her, “Second fiddle is the hardest. You see, I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who plays second violin with enthusiasm, or even second horn, or second flute, now that’s a real problem. And if no one plays second, then we have no harmony.”
The thing about second fiddle, second flute and other ‘seconds’ is that it never gets the tune to play. It’s always a support line to the main melody and so the audience always applaud the instruments that they recognise for having provided the beautiful tune but they rarely are aware of the supporting sections. Yet without these “second fiddles” these solo instruments would sound very thin indeed.
In our society today no one wants to be second fiddle. All politicians want to be Cabinet ministers; all actors want the leading roles and all weather forecasters want to be celebrities. No one wants to be last; everyone wants to be first.
Being a disciple of Christ means being humble. Rather than putting yourself in first place it means accepting that last can be just as good. This topsy-turvy way of thinking and behaving seems alien to many people. We are taught from a young age to strive to come first, and yet
Christ tells us that the Christian’s favourite number should be “two”. Of course, to try always to come second means that we come first in humility!
There is nothing fake about humility. It does not involve denying our gifts and talents; it’s not about hanging back and not helping just in case our true skills become apparent. But what it does mean is that we recognise where our talents have come from.
We can claim no merit for ourselves; every good thing we have comes from God. So, humility allows us to do everything within our power to display our gifts, while at the same time giving the glory to God rather than claiming the limelight ourselves.