Playing Second Fiddle

I'm sure we have all come across the phrase of playing second fiddle. According to the dictionary, it means to "have a subordinate role to someone or something; be treated as less important than someone or something."

I found the origin of this phrase fascinating. In an orchestra, the string players (particularly the 2nd violinists) are said to often feel insignificant to the other musicians. The main reason for this is because there are so many violinists and because their parts are often duplicated by other instruments.

As a result of this, it is common for 2nd violinists to develop a laxness in both their practice schedules and their performances.

On the other hand, 1st trumpeters and 1st oboists tend to be the most dedicated members in an orchestra because their contribution is considered very noticeable and important.

Human beings were created to be intentional, purposeful beings. If a person cannot find a sense of purpose in what they do, they are unable to do it to the best of their ability.

"When life loses its sense of purpose, it ceases to be life at all" 
- John van de Laar

As Christ-followers, the only way we can live a fulfilling life is if we align our purpose with God's purpose - that is: To assist in bringing God's Kingdom to this world (More to come about this in my next post on Thursday).

One conductor - Benjamin Zander - notes that the 1st oboist in an orchestra might feel more purposeful because their first job is to make sure that every other instrument is in tune with their A-note.

Similarly, our primary job as Christians is to point the world to Jesus in the hope that they will become in tune with the God who saves. If this doesn't give us purpose, then I don't know what will.

"The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD's favour has come."
- Luke 4:18-19


  1. Nicely done! Its so easy for people to develop a laxness in their lives, doing the same thing day in day out. Sometimes we just need a wake up call or to see their is a big picture being painted, and that the supporting roles are just as important.

  2. Thanks so much T.

    I love that idea that the supporting role is often just as important as the "more visibly involved" ones. I wish I had included that in the post!

    Thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it.


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