I went to a Robin Mark concert on September 7 in North Haverhill, New Hampshire. For those of you who don’t know, Robin is a Christian songwriter and worship leader from Northern Ireland who put out his first studio album in 1990. He has been doing this for a long time, and while you may not know his name, you very well might know some of his biggest hits including “Days of Elijah,” “Shout to the North, or “Revival.” In fact, his album Revival in Belfast which came out in 1999 enjoyed a remarkable deal of success for good reason. It is an excellent album and well worth listening to if you haven’t before.
We were in a pretty intimate venue with I would say somewhere around 100 people in attendance (although I am remarkably bad at estimating things, so if anyone ever tells you I am way off, probably believe them). Robin obviously led the performance, and he had a very talented backup band comprised of people from the area. Despite the fact that I assume they had very little time for the band and Robin to rehearse together, it was an excellent performance musically.
As I was sitting there, I was reflecting on humility.
Robin himself has had a great deal of success for a long time. He has played plenty of shows larger than this one. Not many people with an international reputation would come to a small town in the middle of New Hampshire to play in a local Methodist Church.
A lot of musicians would never dream of getting on stage with people they had never practiced with before. Even with the magic of technology, it is entirely different to play with someone in person than it is to listen to a recording or anything like that. This band and backup vocalists were very good, but that is certainly a risk on his part. It is not hard to imagine a possible situation where he is stuck with a subpar supporting cast.
However, the pastor of the church, in his introduction, explained how this concert came to be. He had met Robin and thought that it would be a great idea to bring him to North Haverhill, New Hampshire. If it were me, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to ask. After all, it didn’t seem like the type of thing that would normally happen.
Robin’s response struck me. “I go where I am invited.”
It took a while to make this concert happen because of visa issues as the pastor related, but it happened eventually because of that original invitation and the willingness of someone to come and do a show where people sincerely wanted to have him.
How often does this kind of thing happen? How many people have the humility to go places and let people like me have a great experience despite the fact that it may not be full of glitz and glamour?
The answer? Not many in my experience.
It was a lesson for me, and I think it probably applies to you as well. We get wrapped up in what we think we deserve. That feeling of deserving is typically based on our prior experience.
The problem is that when we think about what we believe we deserve, we may miss out on plenty of great opportunities to serve other people. That’s what I feel happened with this particular concert. It was a great night for those of us who were there, and it gave us a good time. There are musicians out there who would never dream of doing this. We were served, and that is what I call humility.
This kind of a funny thing though because, at least for me, humility can be difficult. I kind of relate it to my work in insurance. There are some accounts that aren’t going to make me very much money and take a lot of work. They’re the ones that don’t really look attractive on the surface, but in order to create an experience for the agent, I have to serve them. Even though, like everyone else, I get excited when I hit the big accounts, I can’t just shut down and only say I am going to work on large accounts. If I did that, my agents would know that I am not in it for serving them. They would know I am in it only to help them when I want to. My service would appear to be dependent on what they do rather than simply on the fact that they are customers. They probably would not appreciate that very much.
They seem happier when I serve them and attempt to act with humility even on those days when I don’t really want to make five revisions on a $250 account. After all, it is a lot of work for very little money for the company. It may not really be the best use of my time in terms of a cost/benefit analysis. Nevertheless, I have to humble myself and help them. My job is to take care of my agents at the end of the day. I’m not perfect at that by any means (and maybe my agents will disagree and call me out on this if they ever read this), but I really do try my best. Humility is hard work.
However, it goes a step further than that at least in my business because attitude also makes a difference. We can do the right thing and do the small stuff, but if we do it with the wrong attitude, we can also ruin the experience. I can provide the service technically, but humility is more than just doing it. It is genuinely trying to do your best to get something done for someone else simply because they have value. Again, it is a lot more than just the end result. It is taking care of someone whenever with whatever. You do what you have, and you take care of people.
That really is the way we ought to be in all of our lives as Christians. We should be humble, and we should try to make a positive difference in people’s lives even when there is very little we are going to get back from it. Yes, I do get paid a commission on my small accounts, and I am sure that Robin got paid for coming to do this concert. There is technically some compensation, but I don’t think that’s the point here. It is the spirit of putting on a show that encourages other people even when it may not be in the biggest town or in front of the biggest audience. We try to make a difference wherever we are at, and we do that to try our best to bring glory to God for what we are doing
That is my best effort to communicate what I felt like at the concert the other night. I don’t know Robin personally, but it really seems to me that is the type of guy who is willing to do the small stuff to make a difference for the people who want to enjoy it. I hope that this may be some encouragement to you. It made me smile as I was there the other night.