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The Ultimate Callback

August 8th, 2008

Focus Text: Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV)

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Fine Arts doth prolong itself before us; yet we walk forward with determination and vigor.  Just kidding, all is well in Charlotte and we continue to have entries advance to late rounds with great scores and callbacks. However, one way or another, it will end tomorrow and the door of another year of Fine Arts will close never to be opened again.

As I reflect upon the day’s events, I suppose that the word of the moment has been “callback.”  In this process, each performance receives an average score from three judges based upon a stringent rubric.  A 36 out of 40 is considered a “Superior With Honors” and pretty much anything below that is considered a “Superior.”  Being awarded a “Superior with Honors” is the goal of each participant; however, it does not guarantee that one will advance to the next round.  No, that particular experience is reserved only for those who receive a “callback.”

Thus, the vast constituency of the National Fine Arts Festival at this moment are all hovering nervously around huge screens in the convention center exhibition halls or are religiously refreshing their internet browsers to attempt to ascertain whether or not they have received a callback.  

The callback means that one is still alive; that there is still hope.

I think at the root of this process is a truth that permeates the hearts of mankind: rejection.  Most of humanity live in fear of not being good enough or of facing rejection from those around them.  This is why so many are petrified of commitment.  Transparency about one’s true weaknesses or faults creates a vulnerability– if I let you really know me, then you’ll know how to really wound me.

It’s a lot like those thousands of students who performed this week.  They gave their very best, but now many of them are riddled with insecurity because they fear that the “judges” won’t give them a callback.  To them, that means that their best wasn’t quite good enough.  Now in reality, we hopefully have enough perspective on Fine Arts to not take the scoring process so personally that we miss the value of the program at large.  However, more than the system of Fine Arts, I want to speak to the existence of the insecurity within us.  I believe that this fear of rejection is rampant within our culture and that many are afraid to take the stage before God because they fear that He will reject their performance.  In other words, He won’t give them a callback and their failures will forever be exposed with no hope for redemption.

However, Jeremiah revives the hopes of humanity with one simple thought from God: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  In other words, if we will take a step of vulnerability towards God, He promises to give a callback– to answer us.  Truth be told, our performance before Him is worthless anyway.  The faults and failures of each of us are already laid out before our Maker and He is no stranger to our weaknesses.  When we stumble on the “stage” of life, He’s not surprised.  He doesn’t shake His head in disgust and mark up our scoresheets with low scores of eternal elimination.  No, He doesn’t eliminate us because His Son was eliminated in our place.  In fact, the performance that is grading us on is actually what Jesus did on the cross rather than what we’ve done with our lives.  

In my ministry, there is a student named Evan who possesses uncanny talents in drama and human video. Me, on the other hand, though I coach these events; I’ve never personally done a human video.  The concept of grace is like Evan flawlessly executing a difficult and physically challenging video and the judges marking my personal score sheets for his performance.  If we’ve invited Jesus into our lives, God is grading us for His performance instead of ours.  

And for those who have joined this “festival” of grace, new confidence to take the stage of proactivity is available because we know for certain that we can’t be rejected by the “Judge” behind the table.  We may not be perfect, but we don’t have to be.  We can grow and try and learn and improve without an ending. Why?  Because we are promised a callback through the invincible love of Jesus.

So, may we run towards the stage with zeal and the confident assurance that our place is secure in Him. His callback means that we are still alive; that there is still hope.




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