I had a meeting today in the Tampa area at a restaurant near the mall. I showed up 2 hours early,(don’t ask) so I did what I do about 2 times a year…I went to the mall by myself. The combination of being without Beth and the kids along with the start of college football season tonight created a perfect storm for a shopping spree at the Sports Store. Being back in Florida is nice because the people behind the counter at the stores not only know that Miami has a football team but they actually sell Hurricanes merchandise. As I entered, the first thing I noticed was that the store was immaculate. Everything folded perfectly, hung correctly, organized and in its correct place by team and sport. I found the Miami Hurricanes sections. There were four. One for men, one for women, one for kids and another filled with magnets, flags and home decor. I was so pumped as I went rack by rack and took it all in. So many choices: Jerseys, t-shirts, athletic shorts, Car tags, watches, etc. Everything a sports fan could ever want. As I headed from one section to the next I noticed the store clerk following me. Though with each stop my arms were filled with more merchandise, I was never offered any help or assistance, not even a greeting. Instead, he would go behind me and re-straightened the shirts, realign the hangers, and all the while, he huffed and puffed under his breath. I couldn’t believe it. He was actually annoyed that I was there. He was unhappy that my shopping was causing him more work, tarnishing the neat and tidy order he had labored to set earlier that morning. He followed me all the way to the counter until I checked out. He folded the clothes and placed them in the bag, swiped my card, handed me my receipt and wished me a good day. He watched me all the way out and I could visibly see him relax when I left.
I thought to myself, “That guy was so obsessed with the look, the feel, the organization, the order of the store and blinded by the pride of his work that he missed me, the customer, totally. He even missed the joy of the sale. Isn’t that why he works there in the first place?”
I got to my car, still flabbergasted at the whole situation, and then Jesus whispered to me as I turned the key…
“Never get so obsessed with the look, the order, the organization, and the details that you miss the people and miss the joy of ministry.”
With the first preview service of Good Life Church rapidly approaching, (about 7 weeks) we are working hard at getting all the details right. We are ensuring the environment is clean, safe, attractive and flows well. Pages and pages of details, job descriptions and logistics are in the works to ensure that when people show up, we are ready. But as I lead our team during this time, there are two things I pray that we never miss in all our prep… 1.the people that we have been called to share the gospel and life with and 2.the joy of ministry.
Glad I got a lesson from Jesus today…and some CANES gear.