“You don’t have to be a star, baby, to be in my show...”
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.’s number one crossover hit of the 70s, on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles, when dissected, could be possibly the best lyrical teaching tool for all Christian artists desiring notoriety. I used to listen to this song and wonder, “Does anyone REALLY get what they’re singing about?”
The voice of Marilyn McCoo is an inspiration to me. A velvet, soulful smoothie she is. And to know that her witness for Christ is just as real, makes me love her more. A true star, inside and out. So in lies the paradox of this song: McCoo and Davis are REAL stars, singing about how NOT to be a star. Curious.
“Baby come as you are with just your heart and I’ll take you in
You’re rejected and hurt, to me you’re worth what you have within...”
Whew. I’m emotional just reading this. Some of you 70s leftovers like me can probably sing it without even looking at the lyrics. But seriously, read them again. What do you see?
For the performer in us who just can’t wait to be noticed, Jesus strongly urges us to come as we are. He takes us in. We’re rejected, hurt, filled with jealousy, envy, and even succumbing to the comparison factor. But to HIM, we’re worth what we have within. I especially love this line because no where is it stated in this pop hit, “You’re worth what you have because of what is on the outside.” So why do we work so hard on everything exterior, yet leave our insides deplete of maturity and spiritual hunger? BTW, spiritual hunger is a good thing... If you don’t have that hunger, you need it. It’s another paradox: To lack having spiritual lack means you don’t need Jesus.
The answer comes next.
“Now I don’t need no superstar...”
There it is. That’s when most of us will tune out, quit reading this post and move on. We’re enamored and impressed with everything runway, pizzaz-zy, glitzy, glossy and viral.
“What do you mean, Jesus doesn’t need a superstar to represent Him? Isn’t that what this whole aspiration of getting known is all about, to make Jesus be lifted up? The more well-known I become, the more people know about me, the more I can do so much more for Him? Right?”
My pastor’s son gripped my heart this morning. He spoke, as he always does, from his heart. Open, vulnerable, forgiven. He said, “Too many of us leave church services wanting to be empowered or to be lifted up. I’m saying, let’s leave empowering Jesus, and lift HIM up.”
This is a constant battle. WE want to be elevated, empowered, lifted up. I find little of that in scripture. In fact John 3:30 states, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV)
“You won’t be denied ‘cause I’m satisfied, with the love that you can inspire..”
Hmmm... I “won’t be denied”. Awesome. And inspiring love brings satisfaction? “You mean you want me to just love you, and not be a star?” Yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what Christ is asking of us. Just love Him and don't be a star about it.
Because sooner or later,
“Somebody nobody knows could steal the tune that you want to hear...
So stop your running around ‘cause now you’ve found what was cloudy is clear...
There’ll be no cheering from the crowd, just two hearts beating out loud.
There’ll be no parades, no TV or stage
Only me till your dying day..”
You see what I mean? Priceless precise lyrics. When I worked for WNRK Oldies Radio, I had a few listeners tell me they found Christ while listening to a secular song. Imagine that! One gal told me it was the Holy Spirit that spoke very clearly to her while listening to Peggy Lee's dismal and disparaging hit, "Is That All There Is?". She said it so gripped her about her own lack that she had to do something about it.
You don’t have to be a star to be in HIS show. In fact, I'd advise you not.
“Don’t think your star has to shine for me to find out where you’re coming from..
What is a beauty queen if it don’t mean I’m you’re number one..”
Burma shave. There you go. (If I have to explain the whole "Burma Shave" meaning, well press here)
And then the song ends,
“And I don’t need no superstar ‘cause I’ll accept you as you are
You won’t be denied ‘cause I’m satisfied with the love you can inspire.”
Here’s my star-struck prevention check list:
- Inspire others to love THE Superstar
- Be less so He can be more
- Create an attitude and atmosphere that never questions your motives
- Be more concerned what God thinks about you than what others think about you
“Cause you don’t have to be a star, baby*, to be in my show..”
ˈbābē/ (noun) 1. a very young child, especially newly or recent born
(adjective) 1. comparatively small or immature of its kind.
(verb) 1. to treat (someone) as a baby; pamper or be overprotective toward.
This reminder, baby, is for all of us. God knows that we are full of ourselves. We want attention, affection and we want it our way. The star qualities abound. But none of that behavior or mindset works in HIS show. You don’t have to be...that, baby.
(song written by James Dean and James Glover/Producer Don Davis for ABC Records)
This post was inspired while driving with my daughter in a rental car. I accidentally pressed the "OnStar" button several times, getting an operator, who very harshly said,
"DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!".