Eugene Cho

undiscovered beauty and talent

By now, many folks have heard the story of Paul Potts.  If you haven’t, you need to see the video below! He has become an overnight sensation.  An incredible story of a 36-year-old British man who was making a living as a mobile cellphone salesman.  Check out the story line…it’s made for Hollywood:  Bullied as kid and consequently, resorts to singing; Has ambitions of being an opera singer but gives up his dreams; Wasn’t even going to audition for the talent show…But alas, he enters and wins the Britain’s Got Talent show [equivalent to ‘American Idol’ here in the Stateside]. It’s a little mushy but what a wonderful story of a hidden talent that is now uncovered for others to enjoy. I have a reputation of a tough man to maintain but I have to confess I got a little teary-eyed the first time I saw this video. The last time I cried was when the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl couple years back. That was painful but that’s another story.

While there was some “controversy” of some details that revealed Paul had some vocal training, the truth seems to be that he really is an average bloke.

I have never worked as a professional singer. I have poured everything I could earn into a few lessons, but everyone taking part in this television show has had some training,’ he said yesterday.

‘My four performances with Bath Opera a few years back were all amateur. I am angry about this because I have never earned anything, although I did get petrol expenses a couple of times.’ His story is confirmed this weekend by the singing teacher who gave him lessons until Potts was forced to give up in 2003 because of illness. Potts adds that he has always been open about a trip to Italy to improve his voice. He had saved up to sing for Luciano Pavarotti in a masterclass, but had no tuition from the great tenor. [read the full interview]

What’s he going to do with the earnings? Well, he intends to pay off some debt and fix his teeth.  How average and ordinary can you get?  The bloke even has a MySpace account.  I guarantee you that you’re going to see commercials soon with a montage of his singing and ordinary folks saying, “I am Paul Potts.” 

I want to resist the temptation of making this a nice “spiritual illustration” but how can one resist?  One of the thoughts that came across my mind as I was seeing this video was the thought of all the undiscovered beauty [and talent] in the lives of all people.  And maybe part of the function of the body of Christ and pastors is to serve as “talent scouts” or discoverers.

Filed under: culture

12 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    You are special, very special, a fan.

  2. chad says:

    pastors as “talent scouts”…
    i like that idea
    that’s one i can run with as a youth pastor!

  3. Rachel says:

    pe- yes! i came across this video last week, truly beautiful!

  4. Janet says:

    No need to apologize Eugene. I like the idea of churches, Christians, and pastors helping one another to discover the talent and beauty of each person. While it can be construed as New-Ageish, I actually think this is biblical.

    Happy Discovering.

  5. kd nyquist says:

    I’m going to suggest that talent scouting is a sign of quality leadership in all realms, not simply limited to pastors or the like inside church walls. I think pastors have the dual responsiblity of not only uncovering gifts, but also making sure that those gifts are a means used for worship versus becoming passions that spiritually blind the talented. There is a difference between doing something for God and doing something because one is good at it.

  6. Don Sturgill says:

    Great point, Eugene. As believers, our job description calls for us to see the glorious potential for joy inside of a suffering individual. I was at a low point, myself, when I saw this video…and it was a living sermon to me. Just what I needed, just when I needed it. I have put up (my first ever) blog to invite others who have been touched by Paul to share their experience. Please take a look: http://www.thepaulpottsstory.com

  7. Michael says:

    I heard about the “real” Paul Potts story after discovering him on youtube recently and I must admit, I felt kind of…deceived? I would’ve preferred to learn about his struggles as an amateur paying for his own lesseons, unpaid amateur performances, surgery, broken collarbone, etc, instead of being led to believe this guy just showed up out of nowhere.

    But after a little while, I was still alright with him and I’m a fan. I just don’t like being taken advantage of by the media and recording industry for profit (who does?), which Paul’s initial, sort of half-truth story seemed like.

  8. Mick Daly says:

    I cry EVERY time I watch Paul’s audition video (that’s dozens of times), and am proud of it! Btw, I too was born in Bristol England!

    As an elder at our church I gave a message on Sunday (Journey to Joy) using Paul Potts and his video as an example of a fundamental truth that I think most churches and Christians miss: Jesus was a Man of Joy. Like Paul Potts, when we use God-given gifts and talents (even if we don’t know Him or that he gave them!), and when we use them for the benefit of others, then we give Joy and experience Joy ourselves. Just watch the judges and the audience as Paul begins to sing – that’s some kind of joyful transformation taking place.

    I have a feeling that Paul does know where his talent comes from – if not, I pray he learns that truth and that he is on a Journey to Joy that ends in heaven, where Joy comes from and where his and our Joy will be complete.

    Mick
    http://www.dalys.com

  9. John Eaton says:

    Amen, Gene.

    The Jericho road is a long one, and there are many travelers.

    John

  10. Mami says:

    For the record “Britain’s Got Talent” is the equivalent to “America’s Got Talent” – and “Pop Idol” is the equivalent of “American Idol.” Both shows originated in the UK.

    It does appear that Paul is a natural singer and any voice coach will now welcome the opportunity to work with him.

  11. Hope Anderson says:

    I am just so happy for Paul Potts and his family. Much success in the future, Mr. Paul Potts! God Bless you! Hopey

  12. […]  The instant judgment.  This is a familiar story, isn’t it?  I’m not talking about Paul Potts (another winning contestant in Britain’s Got Talent) but for us as Christians, Jesus […]

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One Day’s Wages

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#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

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@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

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