The Beatles—love them or hate them, they were a cultural phenomenon. Most people recognize John Lennon and Paul McCartney as great song-writing partners, perhaps the greatest in history. But it was a relationship that almost didn’t happen. John Lennon, twenty months older than Paul, started out with a band called the Quarry Men. He explained his thought process to a journalist when he met the then fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney: "I half thought to myself, 'He's as good as me. I'd been kingpin up to then. Now, I thought, 'If I take him on, what will happen?' " . . . . In a 1970 interview with Jann Wenner, Lennon described his dilemma even more plainly: "I had a group. I was the singer and the leader; then I met Paul, and I had to make a decision: Was it better to have a guy who was better than the guy I had in? To make the group stronger, or to let me be stronger?" (http://www.slate.com/id/2267342/entry/2267343/)
As I read these words at Slate, I couldn’t help but think how this parallels our decision to become a Christian. We are in control of our lives; we’re calling the shots and then God comes along. We have to decide if we’re going to allow God in, if we’re going to let go and let God decide the direction of our lives.
The ironic thing is, and the Bible tells us this, that we must forget self to be saved. (If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:34-37)
This irony was manifested in an earthly fashion with The Beatles. John Lennon, by allowing Paul McCartney into the band, allowed himself to become a greater musician. McCartney pushed Lennon to become his best and Lennon was willing to learn from McCartney, albeit for human reasons. He didn’t want to be overshadowed by McCartney, so he strove to be a better musician. Without their competiveness, their great body of work would never have come into being.
In much the same way, Jesus pushes us to be our best. And he is our competition, our only competition. We must study and learn from him and pattern out lives on his. By becoming the best Christian we can be, we also become better in all areas of our lives. Better writers? Just imagine!