Sunday 8 February 2015

Maybe I'm just supposed to be a kele-feh. Not.

I grew up hearing this word "kelefeh" bandied about during church plays and school presentations. I knew what it meant though I always thought it was some official fancy kind of theatre term (probably French) until I tried to find out how it was spelled. Then I discovered that the actual industry term for it was "extra" - and it was used mainly in movies/film. The only reason we used it that much was due to our Chinese speaking background (it's apparently Cantonese) and our need to be inclusive, whereby anyone who's in the group needs to have a role, even if they hate acting (or can't act); they end up volunteering to kelefeh as the crowd, a tree, a rock, a log, or whatever needs to be in the scene, but doesn't have to say anything.

We were covering the book of Job during cell group one Tuesday and one of our cell members made this observation:
"How come the bible doesn't talk about Job's children? It's like they were all just kelefeh. Maybe that's what some of us are meant to be."
It was quite depressing.

But maybe that's the danger in the constant message to "just do it" and "make a change in the world". It puts on a platform those who have made it big in life, and says that if you don't reach that level of achievement (or if you don't dream to), there is something wrong with you. It puts down the simple dreams of simple people who maybe only want to find a good spouse and have children, or make the next promotion at work, or earn just a little bit extra so that they can save and not worry so much about the future.
It's saying that significance is only if thousands of people look up to you, or you become "famous".

There's this constant push for bigger, better, newer and cutting edge even in the church, which can be severely harmful to those who don't have limelight talents. It makes those who enjoy performing seem holier, because they're seen on stage, or they're promoted as being "anointed" through their singing or their music or charisma or whatever visible gift that they wield for God. Or themselves. Sometimes it's hard to tell which.

And so we are defeated even before we start because we place unnatural expectations on ourselves. And we forget that we are all the body, and we are all His children, no matter if our role is big or small, if we influence one or if we influence one thousand.

In another cell group, a thousand miles away on a Friday night (because I'm continuing this in a really disjointed matter after maybe half a year or so), some of them brought up how bad they felt that they have never personally let a person to Christ, or how little impact they seemed to have, even in inviting their friends to church. And yet the thing is, one sows and another reaps. And you don't always know where in this process you are. But as long as you are faithful, God can use you.

Because He doesn't measure success in the same way that we do. He's not looking for the tangible products or the hard numbers. He's not looking at the graphs and the figures. He's looking at your heart and how you cling to Him. He's looking to see how you respond when He speaks. He's speaking to that yearning in your heart that tells you that you can be more than you ever imagined you would be, even if all you imagine yourself to be is the best engineer in your team.

And until and unless our narrative changes, we'll always miss the point.

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