I discovered that there had been someone famous in my office…
As a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) in an active stroke rehabilitation program, it is standard for family members to accompany their loved ones to speech therapy; and when a new stroke survivor showed up in my office with his out-of-town son, I thought nothing of it. It was only about five weeks later that I would learn from a completely different source that this stroke survivor’s son was actually quite famous.
I knew this information should not have made any difference whatsoever in the way the speech therapy sessions went, and I worked hard to ensure that it didn’t. There was definitely a difference in my nerves, however. They zinged with anticipation, and I found myself with added internal motivation to do my best and to showcase my patient’s improvement.
But wait. Why should the knowledge that this person was famous have made any difference whatsoever? Shouldn’t I have ALWAYS attempted to put my best foot forward? Shouldn’t I have ALWAYS been encouraging my patients to do their best? Shouldn’t every patient and every family member who ever entered my office have ALWAYS inspired me to give outstanding speech therapy?
We’ve often heard it asked, “Is that something you’d do if Jesus were sitting beside you?” Usually that question is prompted by the fact that you might not be thinking/saying/acting in a way that is Jesus-like; but isn’t God OMNIpresent? Doesn’t He see ALL things? Isn’t He ALWAYS with us? Doesn’t this mean that we should ALWAYS think/act/say the things that would bring honor and glory to His name?
The incident with this stroke survivor’s famous son also made me think a tiny bit more. You see, I didn’t have even the slightest clue that this particular patient’s son was someone famous. He acted in exactly the same way as the hundreds of other caring adult children who have accompanied their parents to my office through the years. There was nothing haughty about his demeanour, nothing different in the way he obviously cared about his dad’s wellbeing and looked to me for advice with his dad’s communication difficulties…
It made me realize that we all “famous” in our own rights. We all have talents. We all find ourselves in the position, at least occasionally and to one degree or another, in the position where people look to us seeking advice or acceptance. How should we act in those situations? Should we place ourselves above others, looking down on them because we know something better than they do? Or should we act, like my patient’s son, as if there is nothing different about us at all?
Jesus, our perfect example, gives us faultless advice: “So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” (John 13:4-5 NLT). Jesus, the only One who totally and completely deserved our reverence, got up and performed the job of a servant!
This shouldn’t surprise us, however. His entire time here on Earth was spent performing the job of a servant, and this role took Him even to the cross: “But he was pierced for OUR transgressions, he was crushed for OUR iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed…” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)
Famous people walk among us daily. In fact, to others, each one of us is in a position of authority from time to time. Our job is to follow Jesus’ example of humility and treat everyone equally, as Jesus did. When we do, then learning that a particular stroke survivor’s son is famous will not affect our behaviour in the least, for we will have always treated that particular patient and his son, and the countless others along the way as well, in the manner merited by royalty.
It certainly gave me food for thought throughout the rest of my career…
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.