Donald Trump’s getting a lot of air time and attention these days. (The Donald for president? Really?) But I want to talk about someone else on “Celebrity Apprentice”: Jack Jason.
If you don’t know the name, don’t worry. I didn’t either. I’ve been calling him Marlee Matlin’s interpreter for weeks. Until I googled him, I couldn’t have even told you what letter his name started with. He was introduced when the show started, and even though I hear his voice every week when I watch, his name wasn’t important enough for me to learn it.
In a way, I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. He is, after all, the interpreter, not the star. But I was thinking, while watching the episode where they filmed the commercial for the video phone, how hard it must be to not answer people’s questions with his own opinions. People talk to Marlee, but he answers for her, and even though he’s in the room and could give his opinion, that’s not his job. His job is to speak for her.
Last week, when Marlee raised $1 million for her charity, Jack cried his own tears. It was a meaningful moment for me. I’ve since learned that his parents are deaf, so charities that benefit those with hearing disabilities is personal for him as well. But it was a rare glimpse of how connected they are, and I was reminded that he is a person, too.
It must take a lot of humility to be someone’s personal sign language interpreter. You’re essentially a background figure. Necessary, essential and important, but your life is all about someone else.
Not unlike a Christian’s life. When we choose to follow Christ, we choose to become part of something bigger than ourselves. We choose to let God work through us, and ideally, give Him the credit for it.
That’s not always easy. I’m learning this myself. I used to think that I needed to write a book or have magazine articles published with my byline to feel successful at writing. My two most recent paid writing gigs won’t have my name prominently displayed anywhere on them. But they paid, and they’re writing credits. Glory be to God.
I’ve heard said that you can accomplish much if you don’t care who gets the credit, and I think that’s where I’m at with writing and God and the Christian life right now. It really isn’t about me, after all, and God can accomplish much more through me when I hang on to that truth.
Back to Jack Jason. He was Marlee Matlin’s interpreter when she won an Academy Award, and thus got to voice her acceptance speech. He said this about that experience:
“I flashed back to when I was eight years old [and] wrote in a school journal that it was my aspiration to have my voice be heard by millions of people as a DJ or a TV announcer. There I was doing just that. The moment was even sweeter as Marlee thanked her parents and I spoke those words, knowing my parents were in the audience too. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”
You can read more of his thoughts from that interview here.
I don’t know what your dreams are, but I know mine, and I’m finally coming to understand that God may not grant them in the way that I expect. And that’s OK.
It’s not self-defeating to not care who gets the credit; it’s freeing. If all I’m worried about is whether or not someone is going to recognize the work I do, then I won’t do much work at all. But if I join the work God is doing, and let Him get the credit, then who knows what might happen.
I choose to serve Him as faithfully as I know how, to communicate the messages He wants people to hear and forget about myself in the process. I don’t expect it to be easy. Humility never is.
And on a show where the objective is for the contestants to use their celebrity to win tasks and eventually be named “Celebrity Apprentice,” I’m grateful for the reminder that serving can still be celebrated.
When I tune in tonight, I’ll be watching for more than the stars’ antics. I’ll be seeking a lesson in humble service.