Confession time: I am a (huge) fan of American Idol (GASP!). Admit it...you are too. If you’re not, it probably means you’ve never seen the show. Once you start watching, you’re hooked, plain and simple.
Forget the entertainment factor – songs that take me back to my high school days, geeks transforming into cool superstars before my eyes, and horrible auditions that make me laugh so hard I almost pee my pants.
Forget all that.
There’s something magical about seeing someone achieve their dreams. Witnessing a fabulously talented singer get “discovered” on national television. Watching that ONE person out of thousands and thousands of hopefuls make it to the big leagues. Being an intimate part (along with millions of others, of course) of the moment a star is truly born.
Since I’m confessing, I have another: I am a (huge) Taylor Hicks fan. And for those of you who have been living on another planet for the past six months, Taylor Hicks is the latest winner of American Idol.
He was an unlikely candidate. At twenty-nine, he already has a head chock full of gray hair, which he has so far refused to color. He is quirky. Crazy. Uninhibited. Soulful. In fact, he is so full of soul that his fans went so far as to label themselves The Soul Patrol. Millions of people dialed in to the show every week to cast their vote for Taylor Hicks – their Soul Man. They made it their mission to recruit more and more voters each week for the sole reason (no pun or cuteness intended) that Taylor Hicks become the next American Idol. And because of their hard work, Taylor was the only contestant who never found himself one of the bottom three vote-getters of the week.
It can be said that The Soul Patrol was solely responsible (this time, pun and cuteness definitely intended) for Taylor Hicks winning American Idol. Even Taylor regularly acknowledged his fan base and thanked them profusely when he took the crown.
So I’m thinking about the whole “Soul Patrol” thing. And I think, what if, as a Christian, I developed my own Soul Patrol – for Jesus? I may never be famous or have millions of people gawking at me on television. But there are people watching me. Like my neighbors. My family. Co-workers. My children’s friends and their parents. People behind me in line at the grocery store.
Maybe they would like to be recruited.
Although I can carry a tune, I suspect I would receive some strange looks if I broke out in song. So I’ll refrain. I’ll find other ways to increase the members of God’s Soul Patrol. Maybe I could just be friendly. Offer a word of encouragement. An invitation to dinner or church. I could give a smile. A wave. A compliment. I could give them a glimpse of Jesus. Perhaps then people would not only become members themselves but might want to join me in my quest to enlist more souls.
Unlike Taylor Hick’s Soul Patrol, I wouldn’t be looking for voters. God has already won the title of Universal Idol so He doesn’t need the numbers. But He is looking for people to phone in. And the best part is that everyone who dials in will be a winner! Eternal salvation and inclusion into the family of God seems like a great prize to me!
Jesus states very clearly in The Great Commission (Mark 16:15-18), that we are all called to patrol. However, soul-patrolling is not only a responsibility, it's a privilege. I can think of no greater honor than to recruit more souls for the Kingdom.
Now if only I can do it with as much enthusiasm and dedication as Taylor’s fans had for him. If I do, I have a feeling I’ll receive more than a hearty, ‘Thank you,” from God. I'll be a winner too! And the crown I'll receive will be better than any earthly title, even that of "American Idol."
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to begin the recruiting process. I have a feeling that God is just waiting for that phone to ring...
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