Our church celebrated five years last night. Quite a few people got up and shared what has been meaningful to them in the past five years (or however long they’ve been attending), and as I listened, a pattern began to emerge. I think our pastor summed it up best when he concluded the evening up by saying, “You know, I thought about putting together a timeline of all the major events and accomplishments of the past five years, but it just felt wrong. These stories . . . this is what has characterized the last five years.”
And do you know what stood out to me about the stories? Story after story recounted an encounter with ONE person who made a difference. One person who said hello. One person who smiled and pointed toward an open parking space. One person who invited visitors to join a group for lunch. And in every case, the person sharing remembered that ONE person’s name.
We make a big deal out of accomplishments and major events, and they are indeed important. But the one-on-one, seemingly insignificant interactions we have with others are as important – if not more profound – than those “bigger” moments. When I’m busy or tired or not feeling social on a Sunday morning (or whenever!), and I’m trying to decide whether or not to suck it up and go talk to the person who’s standing to the side, alone . . . those stories will compel me to go ahead and say hello. Welcome a visitor. Meet a new friend. Because I may never know the impact that might have.
How about you? What’s sticking with you this week?