Yesterday, I had the pleasure of lunch with a dear friend, former boss turned motivational speaker – one who challenges me and inspires me to be all I can be. (To understand more about what made him a special leader, see my post: Exceptional! ) As always, lunch was filled with thought provoking discussions and challenges for both his life and mine.
During our lunch, he told me about an upcoming opportunity he has to be the keynote speaker at a school lunch nutritional convention in Minnesota. He’s been asked to provide a motivational speech with a phrase for the audience to “take away”, sort of a theme that can become their mantra. The intention of the convention is to encourage those who are serving lunches to see the students as their customers and infuse a sense of caring into their jobs to make a difference in the lives of the students. As he begins to build his speech, he is leaning toward using the phrase, “I care” for the take-away phrase.
As we were talking, I recounted to him a recent conversation with another special friend, (who also challenges me) who asked me why I do what I do – why I spend hours (in addition to my full-time job) teaching students to play the piano – and hours being a youth leader at my church, talking with broken teenagers looking to find their way – reaching out to broken-hearted people to let them know God loves them. “Why”, he asked, “do you put yourself out there to a world that largely doesn’t care?” His question was well intentioned, his logic that, if the world doesn’t care, why should I?
As I thought how to answer this question to my lunch mate, I recited the story of the boy on the beach, throwing starfish back into the ocean after they’d washed up on the beach. Someone criticized him, asking why he did it when he couldn’t possible save them all. As he picked up a starfish and gently tossed it back into the water, he said, “I made a difference for THAT one”.
My friend paused several times during our conversation to make notes of things we talked about so he could include in the speech. At one point, he said, “you know, for some of these students, a caring lunch lady might be the only sense of caring they feel all day. Everybody just needs to know someone cares.”
And that, my friends, is why I do what I do. To summarize what I’ve heard our pastor say so many times, “you might be the only Jesus that they see.”
Everyone needs to have someone who cares about them. Be that person to someone today.
Be Jesus for someone today.
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