A Junto Strategy Project
Because of the general nature of this blog, I rarely discuss religion, but today I want to make an exception because an experience I had today brought my leadership world and my faith world together.
The usual Sunday church meetings were proceeding as normal, although the messages seemed to be a bit more impactful for me than normal. I was enjoying the process of being taught and being “served” so to speak by those who had prepared remarks for the congregation.
Toward the end of the meeting, the congregational choir (I use the term rather loosely) had been asked to sing a medley, and the conductor had invited anyone else who felt so moved to come up and join the singing. I have sung before with the choir but had decided beforehand that I would sit this one out. I just didn’t feel like it, but as I watched the members come up I noticed that the numbers were much smaller than usual and I had that little guilt bug get on my shoulder and tell me to get up and go sing. So I got up from my seat and began to head up to the choir seats.
In my pride, my initial thought was that I “needed” to help the mens section have enough voices to make the song work, and since I have a pretty decent voice, I was sure I could help overcome the lack of numbers. But on my way up, God provided a much different sermon.
Just ahead of me was an elderly woman from our congregation making her way up to the seats to join the singing. As she went to take the first step up, she wasn’t able to raise her foot high enough and caught the lip of the next step and began to stumble and fall forward. I was right behind her and my parental instincts took over and I reached out and caught her under her elbows which kept her from a potentially bad fall. I continued to hold and steady her as we moved toward the seats. We both took our respective places and participated in the singing.
As we finished and began filing back toward our seats, we met again just before the stairs, and she held out her hand for me escort her back down to the congregation. There have been few times in my life where I have felt such a sense of unspoken trust and gratitude than I did in that moment with that wonderful woman.
I didn’t fully appreciate what had happened until I caught a look in my wife’s eye who must have observed the entire interaction and I knew something special had just happened. I kept thinking about the event over and over.
Was it just coincidence that I waited so long to head up? Or happenstance that I happened to head up on the exact same side of the podium as this woman? Or that I was perfectly one step behind her as she missed that first step? Or that those “cat-like” parental reflexes kicked in just in time to prevent a bad fall and provide assistance in the exact moment it was needed? What had really just happened?
For me, there was something very miraculous and beautiful in this small brief moment in time. I had been God’s hands. I had experienced what Christ taught in the New Testament: “In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have only done it unto me.”
In a humbling lesson, God taught me that life isn’t really about me. It wasn’t about my voice in the choir helping to make things better. They would have been just fine without it. Rather, life is about what we do for others. It was that in that moment, God was able to use a very imperfect individual (me) as his hands to help and lift one his other children so that she could be protected and join her voice with the choir.
So my invitation is to any who read this: Will you be open to those moments today when God could use you as his hands?