Well, the Golden Globes are on tonight, and even though I’m a huge entertainment junkie, I’m not sure if I’ll watch them or not. Okay, strike that. I wanted to make sure I had my facts straight, so I checked to see if they are in fact on tonight, and lo and behold, they’re now playing on my TV as I write this post. Horror of horrors! A commercial just came on and I can’t fast forward through it! Oh, live TV how I haven’t missed you. But I digress.
Two of the award categories are Best Supporting Actor & Best Supporting Actress. These awards are given for excellence in portraying a character that isn’t the protagonist, but who is very often pivotal to the story. Who would Batman be, for instance, without the Joker (Oscar for best Supporting Actor, Heath Ledger)? Or what was the most memorable line (aside from “You had me at hello”) from Jerry Maguire? That would be “Show me the money!” spoken by Cuba Gooding, Jr. who also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. But as much as I like my pop culture, it’s not actually what this post is about.
I’m currently reading through Genesis in my devotional time and was reminded of the story of Abraham and Isaac. Let’s see if I can summarize this a little. Abraham & Sarah desperately wanted a child. God promised them a child, but made them wait a ridiculously long time for it, until it was laughable when it finally happened because of their old age. After their son Isaac was older, God told Abraham to kill Isaac to test Abraham’s devotion. At the last minute, after Abraham proved he would obey God no matter what, God told him not to go through with it.
So obviously Abraham wins the award for Most Devoted Christian in an Attempted Slaughtering, but I’ve always been interested in Isaac’s perspective here. As they approached the mountain where the sacrifice was to be made, Isaac asked what they were going to sacrifice, to which Abraham replied, God will provide. Nice answer, Abe, you’re off the hook for now. But what about when they reached the top of the mountain and Abraham finally revealed to Isaac what was really going down? I wish I knew what happened there!
Did Abraham tell Isaac just to trust him and God? Did Isaac willingly lay down on the altar and close his eyes as his father went in for the fatal blow? Did Isaac freak out, forcing Abraham to physically restrain him? Maybe Abraham tricked Isaac. “Hey, son. Wouldn’t it be funny to pretend YOU are the sacrifice? [nervous laughter] Let me tie you up and put you on the altar, take a picture with my phone and post it on Facebook! Oh yeah, this will be hilarious!”
However it happened, Isaac was ultimately saved. In this particular story, he was the supporting character, but later on gets to be the star of his own stories. Yes, Abraham had to be willing to kill his son, but Isaac was the close-call cadaver! It’s gotta be tough to be somewhat of a prop in the lesson God is teaching someone else.
It makes me think of the times I’ve been the supporting character in someone else’s story. Except to be honest with you, I can’t really think of that many. Not that it hasn’t happened, but I’m usually a little too self-centered to be able to instinctively think of it as someone else’s story, or God’s story, for that matter. Instead, I’m usually left stupefied or frustrated that I can’t see the Director’s vision, compounded by my cluelessness that I’m not even the star!
Even when I might be a supporting player in a story where I might never see the big picture, there’s usually a lesson or two I need to learn along the way. My lesson for tonight? The Golden Globes are much better as a secondary character to this blog post than they were as primary entertainment.