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Sharing Your Stage

A few years ago while I was still working in the freelance video world, I had an opportunity to work on a show with the amazing Gregory Hines. While I’d love to regale you with the part of this story where I got to hang out backstage and talk about life and fatherhood with him (coughNAMEDROPPERcough), there really is a point to this.

He was an incredible performer; one of the best I’ve ever seen. You see, most of the content of his stage show was a showcase of his amazing tap-dancing ability. (If you have no idea what I’m writing about, click HERE) About 2/3 of the way through his show, he made an announcement that anyone who brought their tap shoes should line up by the stage and wait their turn. I remember thinking, “Come on; who in their right mind would bring their tap shoes to a Gregory Hines show?” You might be as surprised as I was to find out that about 30 people had done just that. I learned that this was a common practice for Mr. Hines… nearly every time he did a live show, he would allow anyone with enough courage to try it an opportunity to share his stage.

One by one, he welcomed every person in line to center stage, stood to the side, and said the same thing:

“Show me what you got”

Easily adding another 30 minutes or more to his show, he gave each person their own moment. Some showed great skill, others stumbled through… Mr. Hines watched each one with the same level of interest, and when they finished he applauded their effort with great enthusiasm.

As I ponder that experience, I’m convicted about how often I tend to be critical rather than encouraging towards those who haven’t learned or experienced all that I have… times that I default to feeling threatened by some one who may show me up in my chosen field rather than being excited about the gifts and talent of a young person who is finding their passion… moments when I have shrugged my shoulders and walked away when I could should have offered an a vote of confidence.

I want to be better. I want to be a teacher… an encourager.

Just one of those moments when I realize again that He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30 ESV)

Thanks for reading this.

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