Concert of a Lifetime

By On Thursday, 23rd January 2014

The clapping did not stop. The applause was deafening. The cheers thundered in the arena that held sixty thousand people who were now on their feet in a rabid frenzy of adoration.

They loved him. Every last one of them -and the millions watching him from the comfort of their homes- was crazy about him. Oh, they worshipped him. It was intoxicating.

The approval of millions did not come cheap but it was worth every sacrifice he had made. Almost. Nothing compared to this feeling. As he stood dwarfed by the enormous stage with his face magnified on a million screens all over the world, he felt both miniscule and colossal at the same time.

He made a show of kissing his guitar before he banged it on the floor, shattering it, then pouring gasoline on it and setting it on fire. And the crowd went wild. It did not matter what he did, the crowd loved him. A smile from his face was enough to make them lose it. He loved his fans.

He could not believe the effect he had on the crowd. He lived for those four minutes that he got to perform his one song concert after concert.

Then they were over. And he had to take those steps backstage. Like a normal person. No longer a god. Away from his worshippers.

There was nothing like the feeling of he got on stage. The approval of millions could not even be bought with money. The way they followed his every move and listened to his every note in a cult-like obsession could not be bribed out of anyone.

In the dressing room, he found himself alone. He hated that song he had just sung. He hated the clothes he was wearing. In his opinion he looked ridiculous. As for breaking his guitar and setting it on fire? He hated that he had to carry out such blatant dramatics. Yet he had to.

He learnt to give the crowd what they want, so that they could give him what he needed. He was high on approval. His ratings were through the roof. That’s what he needed. Approval; better than money. A million hands clapping for him, appreciating him, acknowledging his worth.

Whenever he stepped on stage he had the approval of thousands. Even when he walked in the streets, the adoring fans made it clear that he was accepted and loved.

The slope had gotten slippery real fast. One day he was an artist with a message. The next he was carrying out meaningless dramatics to thrill a crowd. He hated who he had become. He even hated the people he associated with. His girlfriend? Which one? They were all an accessory to his image.

He missed the days where he could sing a song that he believed in regardless of who was listening. He missed the days when he did what he knew was right. He missed the days when he chose friends based on how well he liked him rather than what effect they would have on his career. He missed valuing his family’s opinion. Nowadays he didn’t care what they thought. He missed having a calling. Now he was just an entertainer. He missed praying for anything else other than his performance. He hadn’t cared enough about anyone in the last few years to get on his knees and say a prayer for them. He missed the Almighty. He missed worshipping the one God.

He fell to his knees. He had lost his way. He had it all but all but he had never felt so empty and so needy. He had never been more famous but he had also never felt so insignificant. He meant nothing. He was just a toy for amusing humanity. Approval was his addiction. He could do anything for the applause.

His life was one big concert. He was always performing. A concert life. Always led by the crowd’s opinion.

He wanted so desperately to say a prayer but the words failed him. He felt silly. He was scared. He was too afraid to be himself. Too afraid to lose his fans. Too afraid of not being loved by the faceless crowd.

He closed his eyes and remembered a time when he lived as he believed. A time when he could just be the person he needed to be without concerning himself with what others thought. A time he stood for what he knew and was fiercely loyal to his family.

A tear rolled down his cheek. He wanted so much to be free of seeking approval. But he couldn’t do it. The clapping had not stopped. The crowd was calling for an encore. They wanted him back on stage just one more time.

He got up, wiped that misplaced tear, stopped for a minute to look at the face of the man he once knew in the mirror backstage, and then ran back onto the stage and into the cruel arms of the faceless crowd.

Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Hebrews 12: 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

To the Victor, go the spoils.

By On Thursday, 16th January 2014

How do people fall in love? The little girl asked.

Well, one falls in love and the other calculates.

Always?

Always.

Not always...Cinderella and the Prince fell in love.

I’m afraid not, Q... but can you guess who did and who didn’t?

Cinderella fell in love. No. Wait. The Prince. The Prince fell in love.

You are a clever girl, Q.

But how?

Well, her step mother taught Cinderella how to orchestrate it.

Orchestrate?

Yeah. Orchestrate. It means to choreograph, to stage-manage, to plan.

But her step mother was evil, wasn’t she?

Yes indeed. A deceptive woman. Evil-genius. She knew how to orchestrate situations and manipulate people.

But why?

Well, her step mother pitied Cinderella. Cinderella had lost her own mother and her father was gone perhaps never to return. She wanted Cinderella to marry well but the poor girl was as wild as a weed.

But how?

Well, every prince needs a cause to fight for, a war to wage, hope to drive him and loot to bring home. The prince had no cause, no war, no reason to hope and more treasure and riches than his palace could hold. Not even his father, the King, could give him any of these things that he so desperately needed. By Cinderella’s evil-step-mother’s calculations, Cinderella was the answer to the Prince’s woes.

Cinderella was a cause?

Well, she had to appear poor and helpless. That was the cause.

Wasn’t she poor?

Of course not. She had a chariot and lovely clothes and impractical glass slippers.

So the Prince knew that she wasn’t poor?

They told him a fairy-godmother brought her the clothes. And a pumpkin had turned into a chariot.

And the mice had become horses. That’s silly. And he believed it?

A prince needs a cause. He could have believed anything.

How about the war?

That’s where her step-sisters came in. They made it difficult for the prince to reach Cinderella. Cinderella had to seem inaccessible and out of the prince’s reach.

Like a challenge?

You’re a clever girl, Q. Yes, a challenge. That’s why Cinderella could only attend one of the Prince’s Balls.

How many balls did the prince have?

Three.

So how could the prince see her again?

She gave him hope.

She left him one glass slipper. Hope to drive him.

You’re a clever girl. What was the loot?

Cinderella was the bounty.

She was his buried treasure. His exotic fortune to bring home. Beautiful in his eyes.

To the victor, go the spoils.

What would you rather Q? To be a victor or to orchestrate a victory? To fall in love or to stage manage?

Oh I’d rather fall in love. Who can control everything? When would I find the time to live?

You’re a clever girl, Q. Don't try control everything. Live. Work. Love. Let the Almighty orchestrate.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

The Colour of Greed

By On Thursday, 9th January 2014

Q knew what greed looked like. She knew that silver devil all too well. She had seen it in her father and it did not take long for her to see its silver claws encasing her boyfriend’s heart.

As they sat there and as he spoke to this new Jezebel that was straight from the pits of hell, she couldn’t help but smile a mirthless smile. This was like all the other business meetings. He insisted that it was his idea to invest in a coal mine. Q wasn’t surprised. Jezebels are convincing.

She watched him with wonder. It amused her that he could not see himself. See the silver devil’s grasp tightening. See what his face showed so plainly. Want. All he ever did was want.

He really wanted. He wanted to be rich and he wanted it now. It was obvious how much he wanted money. He was just short of salivating as the Jezebel explained the expected returns. He wanted to seem influential and he wanted that real bad too. He wanted fame and prestige. He dressed the part and drove a fitting car. It wasn’t enough. Not yet. He wanted more. He really wanted.

Q had often told him to take his time getting rich. It’s better to let the investments grow slowly. Twenty years is not too long to wait for riches. Our fathers did it. There is no shame in humble beginnings. It was of no use. How badly he wanted money! Much more than he wanted Q.

The first time he made that easy fifty thousand in a land deal at his work place is the day the silver devil lured him in. Easy money is the most bewitching. Today they were having coffee with the sixth Jezebel – in a line of many - as they planned on how he would finance his coal mine project.

Q was amused. The want in her boyfriend was more than that of a desolate orphan. It was as though he had nothing. And the more he got the more his want grew. Had this Jezebel bewitched him? No. The Jezebel too was under a spell. She was a slave of the silver devil and he made her do horribly degrading things to maintain a way of life that had no future.

So he was going to get rich or die trying. Rich is not a finite figure. The more money he had the more he wanted to be rich. Q knew this meant he would die trying. He would die a poor man with more money than most rich people. The silver devil enslaved him and enjoyed watching his desire grow every time he made a little progress, but the silver devil is cruel master. The silver devil desires too. The silver devil desires death of its slaves.

The want in her boyfriend’s eyes was evident. That silver gleam. He wanted money but he wanted the Jezebel too. The Jezebel showed him where to sign. As he signed his name onto yet another loan, yet another enslavement, Q knew not to blame him, we’ve all got to serve somebody.

And Q knew not to blame herself for she too deserved pity. Greed, that silver devil, had his hooks in her too. She too wanted. She wanted love and she wanted it now. The scraps that she got were a poor substitute for love but the promise of commitment was always almost within reach. She too was greedy. She too would not wait for love. She too was a tired slave under some cruel spell that never let her leave the circus. She gave more, sacrificed more and tolerated way more than sanity and common sense allowed. Yet all she did was want more. And she too would die trying.

Q sighed as the Jezebel laughed with her boyfriend. She looked at her hands so she did not have to see that silver gleam in her boyfriend’s eyes; that familiar want. She squeezed a silver coin with her fingers as tight as she could. She only hurt herself.

Surely, the colour of greed is silver and the fruit of greed is hard and cold.

Revelation 3:17 You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.”But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in fire, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Deuteronomy 30 See I set before you life and prosperity, death and destruction. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

As I write this it’s new year’s eve, a couple of hours to midnight. I am not at some concert pulling an all -nighter, neither am I in church praying my way into the New Year. I am home alone seated on my bed. Me, my laptop and my thoughts; I cannot imagine what better thing to do than write. As many are doing this time of the year, I have spent quite some time putting the outgoing and incoming year in perspective. My goals, my plans my prayers; I have had some pretty low lows but nothing close to what my 2012 looked like.

Christmas Musings

By On Friday, 20th December 2013

Today our muse is by a guest at the The Saturday PM website. Itunu is a cyber (read facebook) friend of mine who allowed me to re post his thoughts that originally appeared on his Facebook notes.

I am especially grateful that he allowed me to do this even after i had confessed how i worked my cyber stalking skills on him. (trust me, its not as creepy as it appears to sound).

Enough about me: have a read and enjoy.

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