Every Sunday I have the privilege of speaking to approximately 600 people. Having something meaningful to say over 40 times a year is a challenge. As a speaker, I have learned not to be distracted by what is taking place in the audience. But there are times you can tell people are bored. And other times you can sense that someone is very moved by what is being shared.
Last Sunday there was a participant sitting out there in the worship service drawing, as I was delivering my sermon. All that she had at her immediate disposal was a pencil and the back of a registration document. As I tried to motivate and encourage in the pulpit, she was using the time to develop her artistic abilities. You might think she was not showing proper respect or that she was not listening. But that was the not the case at all.
The benedictory prayer was said and services were dismissed. I am always bombarded with people to greet after the second service. This past Sunday was no exception. There were several out of town visitors I was attempting to make a concerted effort to welcome. But I could sense that someone was trying to get my attention… It was none other than sweet little Caitlyn. She handed me a folded piece of paper and told me it was a gift. I thanked her and hugged her. But that was not sufficient. Caitlyn wanted me to examine her gift at that very moment, so I did. As I was preaching my heart out, she was drawing something just for me. It even included a phrase I had used in my sermon. The phrase was “people of faith.” She was obviously listening!
I hugged her a second time and thanked her again too. I told her that I would place her drawing on my desk right beside my computer, so I could see it all of the time. That sweet child melted my heart. I am sure there were people that walked by that failed to get greeted, but that is perfectly ok. Caitlyn deserved my total and undivided attention.
The next time I have an especially discouraging Sunday I am going to march right back to my office and place my attention on the pencil drawing given to me by a special little girl. I am sure I will need to be reminded on such days that I have friends among that Sunday crowd who are listening as well as drawing. And I am not sure what I would do without them.