Playing the Second Fiddle Well

30th January 2015

Part 2          Playing the Second Fiddle Well


In the first verses of Philippians we see who the letter is from: Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi.

Paul they knew well but who was this other man?

Timothy was like so many in God’s kingdom whose role is not to be the number one leader but is to support, strengthen and serve the leader in their calling. In Timothy there was a willingness to serve God in the background. I can think of the many who serve in our church each week with little recognition and yet, without their ministry, the effective work of Jesus would be hampered. God, of course, sees it all – he doesn’t miss one simple act of service!

There is an old only saying:   It takes more grace than I can tell

                                                To play the second fiddle well

In an orchestra the first violinist is traditionally recognised as the ‘leader’ of the orchestra. The second violinist plays alongside him with skill and dedication and yet at a concert it is to the first violinist that the applause is given.

Who are the real heroes of our churches? Who are our ‘second fiddlers’?

Well Jesus said But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,  and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,  even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.                      Matt 20: 26-28

Without these willing servants in our churches who would ensure our buildings are open on time, the chairs are set up, the p.a.system installed, the creche prepared, the coffee supplied.

A preacher may be a gifted orator, able to deliver anointed sermons and incisive words of knowledge but if nobody is unlocking the gates, opening the building, putting the heating on, setting the chairs out, setting up the sound system, putting the loo rolls in the toilets and the coffee pot on, then he or she would be preaching and prophesying in the street and few would hear them!

And what about our Small group leaders – why do they do what they do for us? How well they serve us and yet often without a ‘thankyou’! Where did they learn to serve us so well – they're there every week, preparing the night's ingredients, whether people make the effort or not, making endless cups of tea & coffee, clearing up the house after folk have gone – continually caring for the needs of the group – where did they learn to serve  and care like this? And what about our Youth and Children leaders!

Of course we know! They have received the amazing grace of God in their lives, the undeserved blessing of God . They have opened up their hearts and welcomed Jesus into their lives. He lives within them and this inspires and strengthens them. Serving has become a privilege: that’s why they’re becoming like Jesus.

This was true of Timothy. Look at how Paul commends this young man to his friends in Philippi:

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you.  For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.  For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.  But you know Timothy's proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.                                                                                                                                    2: 19-23 

Remember that each of us lives before an Audience of One

And however humbly and small may be our part let’s serve well!


The woods would be very silent if the only birds that sang were those that sang the best.


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