Hustler to Humility
I recently heard this story about a high level corporate lawyer who was the best at his game, this guy could argue the law at the highest levels. In fact it wasn’t uncommon for him to come before the supreme court. One day he got this offer that he couldn’t refuse. In fact he got to argue against a king in another land, with other rules and other laws, and a whole other culture and he thought that he would win. But in this other land he lost, and not only did he lose this case he actually was imprisoned. He went to prison there and he got blind and sick. Ultimately this high level, rich lawyer who was the best at his game ended up with nothing, homeless and blind.
The story of course really isn’t about a lawyer, it’s about Paul. The idea that strikes me about Paul that resonates with me as a performer, is this idea of moving from hustler through humiliation in to humility. Not too long ago I was offered a great role in a musical called Jersey Boys playing Frankie Valli himself. I was burned out from television, I went down to La Jolla not knowing what I was getting into, singing almost 30 songs per performance eight times a week. I thought in my own pride not having really been prepared for such a task, that I could get through it but my voice started to falter. I’ll never forget when I was at a matinee trying to hit a high note and my voice cracked and in front of the audience I experienced this thing called, humiliation.
You see when you’re an orphan you don’t know who you belong to and who gives you your call and your identity and your destiny, you sing for your supper. It was in front of that audience that I started this sweet little spiral down towards Jesus. It just reminds me of Paul’s journey as well. Hustling for his supper wanting to argue his way into the kingdom. It’s only when he lost it all that he moved from that hustler through humiliation in to humility. It was here at Bethel that I taught drama to kids on a dirty carpet at an elementary school and it was in that place, on that dirty carpet that I came to this beautiful place of humility. I can tell you here right now that actually the best performers are not takers but they’re givers. So next time you step out onto that stage in that spotlight, maybe remember that that place isn’t a place just to receive praise but it’s a place to give praise to the Author.