I run the lights at my church every Sunday. It’s called The Net Church and we meet in the movie theater at the mall in town. We have to meet really early in the morning, many hours before our first service starts, to have everything set up and sound checked by 9:30.
Taking point every week is our campus pastor Sam. Sam smiles a lot and always has nice things to say. So, I like talking to him. He’s also really tall, like at least 7 ft. Ok, maybe not that tall, but he’s still pretty tall.
I was a really loud child. I was also a really loud teenager. Though I grew into a quieter young adult as I went to college. I don’t know why but I became somewhat scared of speaking. Not in any drastic way, I just chose to save my words for my close friends.
I’ve always told people I don’t care what anyone thinks about me. But, that became untrue. I actually began to care quite a bit what people thought of me. I got nervous when I spoke in front of people because no one was allowed to think anything about me that I didn’t want them to. I had to carefully construct every sentence I was going to say before I said it. Each word had to be perfect.
I’m a skinny guy, like, really skinny. So I’ve never thought of myself as traditionally attractive. But I’m smart, so I thought that was all I really had going for me. I couldn’t compromise the only thing I had going for me by saying something to make myself sound stupid. I mean, I can’t be ugly AND stupid.
Last spring my roommate Connor and I attended a small group led by Sam. I didn’t say much the first few weeks. I didn’t want to sound stupid. Everyone in the small group was so smart and I didn’t think I had anything smart enough to bring to the table, so I just sat and listened mostly. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting and listening the past year or two.
Every week Sam would ask me what I had to say and every week I didn’t say much. But, that didn’t make Sam stop asking. He didn’t pry and he didn’t pester. He allowed me to slowly rebuild my confidence in speaking. By the end of the semester Sam would ask me what I had to say, then practically had to ask me to shut up. I became quite the little talker again.
We have two services every Sunday, one at 9:30 and another at 11. The latter usually ends pretty close to 12. Sometimes though, movies start at 12:30, so we’ve got to be pretty quick when it comes to tearing everything down and clearing the theater. We tear down the same equipment, in the same order, every Sunday; so a lot of them begin to run together.
I distinctly remember one Sunday though. I don’t remember if we were in a hurry but I remember something about when we finished. Everybody was done and most had already left. I was one of the last ones there because the lighting equipment is heavy and sometimes it takes a few trips to put it all away. But, that’s irrelevant.
I remember preparing to leave. I stopped for a moment to look around the theater and see who was left. There were three people: Me, Connor, and Sam. Sam was walking the rows of seats with a broom and dustpan. The man in charge was walking the theater sweeping up trash. The head honcho, the man that if you had a question, you asked him. You asked the man staying behind, to sweep up trash.
I see posters all the time and hear people say “one should be a leader, not a boss.” I agree with that. I’ve actually found a perfect example for distinguishing the two. Ready for this?
A boss is someone who teaches you how to use a broom, then tells you when and where to use it. While a leader is someone that tells you to have a good day, because you’re tired and you’ve worked all day and they know that, then sweeps up the trash after you’ve left to enjoy your Sunday nap.
Sam actually spoke at our church today. It was the first time I’ve ever heard him preach a message and it was good. Though it wasn’t mind-blowing. I definitely learned something don’t get me wrong. But Sam teaches better by being an example, not giving them on Sunday morning.
What I’m trying to say is that I hope you know someone who smiles a lot and always has nice things to say. I hope you know someone whom you like to talk to. I hope you know someone who genuinely wants to hear what you have to say, and is willing to wait until you want to say it. I hope you know someone that encourages you to be yourself, and inspires the best of you. I hope you know someone who holds you to a high standard. And I hope you know someone who stays behind to sweep the trash that you didn’t even know you left.
I hope, and I really mean this: I hope you know a man like Sam.