Supposedly Leonard Bernstein, the famous conductor of the New York Philharmonic, said: The hardest instrument in the orchestra to play is second fiddle.” The phrase “Playing Second Fiddle” has become synonymous with being out of the limelight, not the lead dog, the understudy who never gets on stage, or always a bride’s maid but never a bride. Most can’t handle it because being “Second Fiddle” is too hard for them. They WANT the lime light. It is uncommon for someone to be really good at “Playing Second Fiddle.” It speaks volumes about someone who fills well a difficult and all-but-glamorous position. Truth is, some… even church staff members… have a problem being a competent “Second Fiddle.”
A fiddle and violin are the SAME INSTRUMENT. The difference is how they are played. First Fiddle must only play the melody. Second Fiddle plays harmony and has the freedom to be creative doing fancy finger work. This is harder because the fiddler must know how to harmonize the music as well as play higher notes as he moves his fingers up the throat of the fiddle. It takes much practice to play this part well. The purpose of the second fiddle is to play a supporting role and compliment the first fiddle, thus making the first fiddle look and sound good. The audience does not realize that the second fiddler is playing his heart out in order to make the first fiddler look good; yet the second fiddler does not get any credit for what is played. Thus, this part is all-but-glamorous.
Some famous “Second Fiddles”: Joshua to Moses. Elisha to Elijah. Silas to Paul. John Mark played second fiddle for Peter, as a son in the faith and a disciple. He played second fiddle to Paul, as a helpful servant and later, a trusted confidant. He played second fiddle to Barnabas, his cousin and co-worker. He was good at this difficult and all-but-glamorous position.
Actually, the preferred position as Christians is “Second Fiddle!” Not sure about that? Consider…
Mt 20:26-27, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave…”
Mk 9:35, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Phil 2:3, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Ro 12:10, “Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Eph 4:1-3, “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Eph 5:21, “(Submit) to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
1 Peter 5:5, “Be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'”
Being “Second Fiddle” in God’s economy is much preferred to being “The Man.”