Edited By: Leslyn Kim
If you haven’t yet seen the documentary about Sixto Rodriguez, you’re missing out on something special. I won’t spoil the movie, but it’s about a musician who never knew just how famous he was. Here’s the trailer:
Again, I don’t want to give it away, but the most fascinating part that unfolds in the retelling of this true story is when Sixto is rediscovered by his biggest fans. The person that they discover in Sixto, to me, is far more fascinating than his music. Although, his music is amazing. Warning Christians – this is secular music and so is the movie. LOL. Travel per your own set of scruples (Romans 14):
The person that the fans “rediscover” (trying my best not to spoil it for you) is worthy of studying as a social experiment. He’s the opposite of everything fame would likely transform/disfigure most of us into. He’s fame without the money, he’s fame minus the id(ego). The epitome of humility. One of my favorite characters in the film is Rodriguez’ old boss. Unaware of his fame overseas, Rodriguez worked as a construction and demolition worker to make ends meet. His undiscovered fame led him to manual labor to support his passion to play music. It was work that his daughters described in the documentary as “the jobs nobody would want to do”. Even still, he knew he was someone special. As his boss described, he would often show up in a tuxedo ready to work a demolition job.
Here’s one particular takeaway that made me want to blog about the documentary……
God’s providence (timely preparation for future eventualities) is unmatched:
There’s an art, a virtue, that I believe has been all but lost in modern Christianity. The art of waiting on God. Sure, there are a minority who probably still walk in it, preach it, believe in it. But, I rarely here it discussed or encouraged. Want to have your own ministry? Wait until the Lord presents the opportunity that he tailor-designed before creation just for you. Want to pursue a business venture, write a book, or host a cooking show? Wait until God reveals to you just what he intended for that venture to look like. Don’t cheat. Don’t push it to give it that extra momentum you think it needs, don’t coddle it with the intention of directing it’s path. Wait until He literally rolls it out before you, where the evidence is undeniable. Just wait. Sound crazy? Yep. Reformed teaching tells you that God is Sovereign – with a capital “S”. So much so, and to such immaculate detail that he predetermined where every dust particle sits at this very moment in the universe. I believe that myself, with a few caveats, perhaps relative to the way that some would explain it. Yet, my perception looking in from the outside is that few really live this out with the same admiration they assign God’s Sovereignty to by their words. Most Pursue. While the Sovereignty and Providence of God sound good, and well-rehearsed, it’s tough task to really just let “it” happen. The more common version we often see lived better aligns with it’s Charismatic version. See my reference below explaining what I mean by Charismatic version. It often looks more like this: Remember this scene?”:
I love that scene! Always have. However, my views have morphed from the way I used to see it. Pursuit of our calling(s), based on our gifts, goals, dreams, is much less commonly lived and taught than I think we ever want to admit personally or collectively. If we have a heart for this, we just go jump into it. If we have a desire to see this happen in our lives we just go after it. If we have a zeal for “that”, we just go join an organization doing just “that”. The commonly held, but maybe less than scriptural summary of this idea can be summarized by this statement which you’ve probably heard before: “Just go after it, and if it’s not for you then God will close the door on it (Charismatic version). Hmmmmmm……. I’ve always wondered, why can’t the opposite be equally as true. “Just wait, and if it’s for you then God will open the door. Speaking from personal experience (sometimes but not often enough), observing history, and from studying the bible I feel that there’s another way. Albeit, far less popular, Christian and secular alike.
Little known historical fact – Martin Luther King never really pursued civil rights in the way most presume. He prepared himself by studying in seminary and in pursuing higher education. Upon graduating from Boston University with his doctorate, he took on the role of lead pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama (http://www.bet.com/news/national/2013/01/15/commentary-for-martin-luther-king-it-all-started-with-reluctant-leadership.html). He didn’t pursue civil rights, per se. Civil rights pursued him. Huh? – you say. Yes, the short of the story is that after the incident involving Rosa Parks, King, to his surprise, was asked to lead the Montgomery Improvement Association. Later asked about his nomination he replied: “It happened so quickly that I did not have time to think it through,” King recalled. “It is probable that if I had, I would have declined the nomination.” To be fair, he developed a passion for civil rights well before he was ever asked to lead the organization. Although, he wasn’t networking or breaking down doors in pursuit of a leadership role either.
Neither was Moses actively pursuing a ministry calling to lead his people out of Egypt. God chose him, and he reluctantly took on the role. “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you?” – Exodus 4:1; “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” – Exodus 4:10; “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” – Exodus 4:13. What he did prepare himself for (or the Lord prepared him for) was shepharding his father-in-law Jethro’s flock. There was no plotting, scheming or angling for the “number one spot”. I doubt he had any clue that his shepharding skills were training for leading a whole nation.
I feel like I could go on and on with more examples biblical and non-biblical. Still, there are many worldly examples of the exact opposite. What makes Sixto’s character (speaking of moral strength) so incredible in this movie is how he unknowingly shuns the fame and praise of men and instead pursues his calling with such strong personal conviction. The story is secular, but it contains a lesson for us all. Instead of pursuing positions, pursue your God-given passion, and leave the promotion to God and his perfect timing. Unfortunately, many would say they believe this, but few really walk it out to it’s intended end. Me included. Thus, it becomes more or less a pithy Christian life quote, and less of a reality. If “waiting on the Lord” looks anything like Sixto’s waiting, and I have a sneaking hunch that it often does, then we have much to learn. He pursued his dreams for decades, only to find out that he was beloved for his music half-way-round the world, thirty to forty years later.
If correctly pursuing our calling (direct ministry related or not) was taught and modeled as such we would probably have less of a problem with celebrity pastor culture, less clamoring to play “pastor’s right hand man”, less maneuvering for positions that are visible. And more stories like Saul’s unexpected (only from his view) conversion as he neared Damascus, the apostles seemingly chosen out of thin air (not from God’s perspective, but from our’s), or Levi (Matthew), converted from a corrupt tax collector into a disciple in a day (one he never anticipated).
God’s timing is perfect and this movie (in a secular sense) proves just that 😉