C.S. Lewis once said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I am so distracted, fixated on the lesser things. I used to lead a team of college students who volunteered every week to lead a worship service for several hundred college students. I was “the guy”. Regularly, I was so consumed with the details of what was going on that I missed how important the people were. One week, I turned around during a “meet and greet” moment and introduced myself to a couple behind me. I asked their names – and the girl replied, “you should know – you have been sitting in front of us every week for three years.” They soon got up, walked out and left. I am not sure whether they came back in or came back ever. Talk about a slap in the face.
Now, you might say, “Scott, you are being too hard on yourself. Maybe they had other things going on.” Well, you may be right, but that does not change this reality – I had become so focused on my work and responsibilities that I missed a moment and my actions communicated that these people did not matter.
The set list, the production of the service, smoothness of transitions, cues, technology, the way the speaker followed a theme (or not)…all of these things were my mud pies. The room was full of people who mattered to God – who should have mattered to me.
So, recently, I had a moment where I could have done it again. I saw myself going there. And I fought it. I introduced myself…and I remember all their names. I looked them in the eye, shook their hands, and got to know them – and they got to know me. We laughed and had a good time. I did my thing, my responsibility was taken care of, but not at the cost of letting those four or five people knew that they mattered to me.
People matter to God, and they should matter to us much more than lighting cues, the smoothness of a talk, or the spelling on a program. When someone leaves an experience I am involved with, I want them to be certain in their mind, “Those people cared about me and made me feel like I was a part of their family.” People need that more than they need to be entertained.