My wife and I love a show on tv called "The Voice" that is broadcast on NBC networks. In case you've never seen it, it has 4 famous singers who are looking to coach unknown singers to stardom and hopefully to win the competition each season. All four "coaches" are in high backed chairs with their backs turned to the stage. One at a time, singers come out on the stage and give a 90 second performance. At any time during the performance the coach can hit a button in front of them and make their chair turn around towards the stage. This gives the singer an opportunity to pick a coach for the season (if there is more than one) or if only one, they will be automatically assigned to them. Unfortunately, some of the singers do not get a coach to turn around until they have completed their song, in which case all four coaches are turned around to the stage and they have a chance to give feedback to help the singer with their skills.
Growing up in the 60's and 70's, I loved what has come to be called "Classic Rock". Janis Joplin was one of my favorites, as something about her gravelly voice called out to me. This season there is another singer that has that kind of voice and a power house style of performance that I think will carry her far in the competition. Sarah Potenza is her name. Her wardrobe seems to try to mimic the styles of that era, and if many people judged her by looks, (at least by the way the current pop singers appear), she would not be very popular. But "The Voice" gives people a chance to initially prove themselves by their voice alone. As it progresses in the season, they will have to be able to show that they can perform for the audience as well.
Now, let's look at God and see if there is any comparison.
The Stage: Heaven
The Singer: God
The Song: Life
The Judges: Me and You
We start out in life facing away from the stage. We are born into sin and we have no connection with heaven. There is no "permalink" as the web likes to call connections made. We are looking out into the audience, many times gauging their reactions and motions as we go about listening to The Song. Just as I have seen the judges during the show be influenced by crowd reactions to the singer, we also are influenced by what goes on with the people who surround us.
Many times we want to be a part of the crowd, and we never really listen to what is happening on The Stage. We do this in life. We're too busy with everything going on around us to really listen to The Voice that is singing in our ear. Even at church we simply choose not to listen to the pastor and instead dwell on the things that we didn't get done this past week that we now have to add to our busy schedule. Or we are there simply for appearances and we have no sincere desire to make an actual attempt to be a part of The Voice.
Something in what they are singing, or the way that they are singing, just doesn't interest us. It may not be our style. In church, they may only sing one type of music, maybe just hymns, or praise & worship music, or maybe you don't like the instrumentation or speed of the music. Too fast, too slow, too guitary (hmmmm wonder if that is even a word. but you know what I mean). And yes, just because you go to church doesn't make you a Christian. (aw snap, that is a wake up call for many).
So we go through the performance with no contract, no guarantee and no commitment to be a part of what is happening on stage. WHY?
If these 4 coaches on this show never hit their button to turn around, nothing would ever get accomplished. But it wouldn't mean that they are not great singers and performers themselves. Each artist sells millions of albums, their names are a household name and millions of people flock to their concerts every year to watch and hear them perform. So, if they never turn around, it could never mean that they are not singers themselves. It just means that they didn't want to be a part of something else that may be bigger than themselves.
There are 2 ways to view this in our world.
(1) You have people who simply refuse to be a part of what is happening on the stage behind them. They recognize the voice that they hear as telling them something that may or may not interest them a little bit, but not enough to be fully committed. These are the people who surround you that you call "good-hearted." A lot of times they don't attend church, you've never heard them give a witness about anything that God has done in their lives. Chances are they are not saved and have not given their life to Christ. It doesn't make them a bad person. Just like the coaches that never turn around for a singer are not bad singers themselves. These people who remain facing the audience just simply choose to not completely commit to someone else, in this case Jesus Christ. That connection is never made and there will be a price to pay for it. Just like the show where the coach can't win with that artist is they don't at least turn around and offer their commitment, these people will never have a chance to live with God in Heaven for the rest of eternity.
(2) There are those who listen to the voice behind them and like what they hear and want to be a part of it. When a coach turns his/her chair on the show, they are offering their commitment to be a part of the singers life and hopefully make a better performer out of them. When we in life turn our chairs and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are offering ourselves to God to make our world a better place. Some do this for "fire insurance" (see a much earlier blog about this) so that they escape Hell, but they never really put their all into the mission. Some fully give themselves to help God further His mission, including becoming ministers, missionaries, or workers in a church and serving in capacities where needed. Just as a coach will reap more out of the effort that they put into an artist, we also reap more from what we truly give of ourselves to God.