Be a Star, Not an Idol
Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. – Philippians 2:14-15 (NRSV)
When singers compete on talent shows like “American Idol” or “The Voice,” they do something a lot scarier than sing in front of millions of television viewers. They stand before the judges to hear a scathing analysis of their performance. The talent shows draw viewers as much for that uncomfortable moment as for the singing. We want to see how the contestants will hold up at that moment of judgment.
We can always count on judges like Simon Cowell, of “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent” fame, to be brutally honest—and, sometimes, just plain brutal. We’re not used to watching people receive no-holds-barred feedback like, “That was the worst performance I have ever seen.” The real drama comes in the contestants’ reaction.
I am amazed at the courage of some of the performers in that moment. They are able to stand tall, not argue back, not be defensive, and they even keep a brave smile on their faces. These are the ones who may be cut for show biz. As the scripture urges, they do their thing “without murmuring or arguing.” Maybe those are the ones who are born to sing.
“American Idol” and similar shows promise contestants that, if they win the contest, they will be idols. An idol is worshipped like a god, but it’s a false god. Who wants that title.
Better to be a star, the kind of star that is created by God to bring light to the world.
In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, let us shine like stars in the world. No murmuring, no arguing, just shining in each day you give us. Amen.
A version of this devotional by Lillian Daniel also appears in OMG: Devotionals for Teens and Young Adults, a collection of devotionals to connect youth with God. Order OMG here.