Professional speaker Jim Cathcart often shares a certain story about how our lives impact those around us. One day, during a layover at the Atlanta International Airport, Jim found time for a snack in the food court. All the tables were filled and several passengers, himself included, stood in any available space to eat.
Then Jim noticed a busboy working his way through the crowd. His shoulders were curled forward and he kept his head down. He moved through the crowd from table to table barely making eye contact with anyone as he cleared away the dirty dishes. Well the sight of this overworked and anxious young man filled Jim with an overwhelming sadness. For someone this young to be so burdened by the weight of work didn’t seem right. He knew that there was something he could do or say to reach out to this young person.
When Jim finished his food and disposed of the trash, he approached the busboy. What you are doing here sure is important,” he said. Huh? the busboy replied. If you weren’t doing what you are doing, it wouldn’t be five minutes before there was trash everywhere, and people would stop coming here, Jim said. What you are doing is important, and I just wanted to say thanks for doing it.
The busboy began to smile. His posture became more erect and he began to make eye contact with those around him. A few choice words had served as a reminder that he was worth much more than he realized.
I think that this is a wonderful story to recall as we begin the month of September. We begin yet another new year of Confirmation and Sunday school, pre-school and adult scripture study, committee meetings and social gatherings – it will be an autumn filled with busy church activities. As exciting as autumn is, it also brings with it a certain frantic-ness. So often people become dismayed by the passing of the summer months and wonder where all the time has gone. They get discouraged by the amount of activities and so often feel like that busboy in the story. They end up walking through their days with shoulders curled forward, barely making eye contact with the world around them. Often we begin to feel the effects of the shortened days and we sense the hints of winter with each falling leaf. The lazy hazy days of August have turned into work once again.
Yet right here in the “frantic-ness” is our chance to share the Good News. Like Jesus who was always able to remind people of their infinite worth, so we too can become bearers of healing. It doesn’t take a great effort to pass on a compliment, share a smile, or take a moment to chat. It doesn’t take a tremendous effort to remember someone’s name, remember someone’s birthday, or introduce yourself to a stranger. It doesn’t take a heroic effort to lend a helping hand, to exercise patience, or offer to listen. These are the moments of Good News that we can share with each other in this season of autumn.
I think it was Mother Teresa who once said: Holiness does not consist in doing great things; but in doing little things with great love. If we pay attention to the little things, the small kindnesses, the brief exchanges everyday we can make a difference in the lives of so many people. Watch! They will stand up straighter. They will begin walking with heads held high. Their eyes will be brighter. A few choice words will serve as a reminder that they are worth much more than they realized!
Enjoy these last days of Summer my friends. Peace. Pastor Jeff