‘Life isn’t like the movies’ … or is it?

My husband and I have a couple of acquaintances who work in the film industry – nothing really exciting, just props and special effects. Still, it’s enough to keep us in our seats through the entire credits to see if either one’s name will pop up. Sometimes by the time we’re ready to leave, the broom-laden ushers are waiting impatiently to clean the theater.

Watching movie credits is amazing because absolutely everyone gets credit. They name the Driver. The 2nd Lead Animator. The Turf Coordinator (that refers to grass). The Inferno Supervisor (just what you think). The Catering Assistant. It takes at least five minutes at the end of a 90-minute film to list a few hundred names of people whose work was key to the movie’s success. Then they list the people who just get thanked: the cities and towns and parks and buildings where scenes were filmed; every musician who composed or recorded or wrote or produced a song used in the film; various businesses and nonprofits whose names or logos appeared in the film.

Roll the credits for foresight and hard work!

If only life felt like that! Wouldn’t you like to see the credits for the day that the kids managed to set the grease on fire when they were cooking bacon? Thanks to your foresight, there was a fire extinguisher to grab and you kept the kitchen from going up in flames … don’t you deserve “Inferno Supervisor”? And how many Saturday afternoons have you driven that mower around the yard (or driven that son of yours to get the job done) when you’d much rather watch the ball game? “Turf Coordinator,” that’s you. At the office, you make sure your boss gets where she needs to be and keep her energized so she won’t come off like a lump in the sales meeting. So who’s going to recognize you as the Driver and 2nd Lead Animator at your job?

Sure, I know. You’ve heard it since you were a kid. “Life isn’t like the movies.” But you know what? When the credits roll, life is supposed to be like the movies. And even better.

Let’s cheer for the gall bladder and the kidneys in the Body of Christ!

Every person who chooses to know God is shaped by God into part of God’s spiritual body, the church. That spiritual body is not any one particular congregation; that body is all of the churches together that make up all of the people of God. And every single part of that body is needed if that body is going to survive.

So what if you feel like much less than the Turf Coordinator among the humongous, amazing, diverse people of God? Myself, I tend to figure I’m a bile duct: essential to digestion, but not what you’d put front and center on a “cool body parts” display. A tear gland is not what sees but vision deteriorates very quickly without you. A lining cell in the esophagus is very invisible. But without you … bleeding ulcer.

As 21st century Americans, many of us have been trained to think that it’s our job to be leaders … to create something “important.” But what if our important job is something almost invisible? What if our important job is to bring dinner to a sick friend, to drive an elderly friend to an appointment, to help a young friend learn their multiplication tables? Can we remember the important roles of the 2nd Lead Animator and the Turf Coordinator and the 3rd Key Rigger and the Driver? Can we value the equally important roles played by dozens of Colorists and 3-D Framers and Texture Modelers and Background Painters? Can we remember to assign the same honor and value God does to each of the many parts it takes to keep this glorious Body, the people of God, running well? 

“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. … As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Cor 12: 18, 20)

God made Christians for: Valuing what each individual can offer.

Who do you know whose contribution is important, but always undervalued ? Is there a way you can put their name in lights this week?

Copyright © 2009 – 2014 Carlene Hill Byron


About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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