I spent most of last week at a conference, and while I was there I had the opportunity to learn from several outstanding leaders. I’ll be reflecting on what I learned for a long time, but one thing I can’t seem to forget was actually an unplanned glitch.
During the first several minutes of the conference’s opening session, a malfunction caused a spotlight to shine on a section of the audience off to the right side of the stage. Every few minutes, the spotlight would shine on the same group of unsuspecting attendees and draw the gaze of approximately 10,000 sets of eyes. After a while, the spotlight would go off, and focus would be reestablished before the glitch would occur again. I lost count of how many times this happened, but thankfully it became less distracting each time.
I’ve written about a similar topic before, quoting Beth Moore who said, “A great person is someone who takes the spotlight and places it on the greatness of God.” John the Baptist is a prime example since he used his influence to say, “Look at Him” instead of the ever-so-tempting “Look at me.”
But what about when we’re thrust into the spotlight, maybe not in front of thousands, but in front of a few? This often happens as a natural result of filling a particular role at church, at work, in our families, and among our friends.
The first time the spotlight shone unexpectedly on the audience at the conference, the illuminated group was abuzz. They smiled into the light and looked at one another excitedly. Each successive time it occurred, though, those in the spotlight reacted to it less and less. Eventually, the problem was virtually ignored because the people in the spotlight stopped responding to it. Instead, they kept their eyes glued to the stage. When the rest of the crowd was tempted to follow the spotlight, our focus was redirected because of the actions of those in the light.
Despite all of our grace-driven efforts to keep the focus on God’s greatness, there may be times when all eyes are on us. From our unique positions of influence, we can still imitate John the Baptist and the crowd at the conference, convinced that what motivates and sustains the Christian is a clear vision of Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3). Because of that, when others have their eyes on us, we best serve them by keeping our eyes on Him.