I was in New Orleans last week attending a workshop. The class was worship leadership and I learned a lot. But the biggest thing I learned did not happen in the class room. On Monday night, I took advantage of the free supper being offered in the cafeteria. Due to the one hour break we had between class sessions, there were a ton of people cruising through the chow line. As I sat at the table with a couple of friends, I watched as a guy stood in front of the trash cans and took people's trays. As the time passed, this same gentleman started making the rounds throughout the room, taking trays from the tables and depositing them in the trash. He continued his efforts for well over an hour. In fact, he was working hard enough to work up a noticeable lather. And to top it all off, he was doing it while smiling like it was the greatest day of his life.
I realize that it is not unusual to see someone helping in this way. The fascinating aspect of this story is not the what, but the who. The guy taking people's trash was the President of the Seminary. I repeat, the PRESIDENT of the Seminary! There were over 300 students visiting the campus as a part of the Red Carpet week. With this many folks visiting the campus, you would expect the President to be shaking hands, visiting, and speaking from a stage. Instead, the top leader of my Seminary was handling the trash.
It was incredible to watch people try to refuse his offer, and him respond with, "It's not a problem. Trash is my specialty." I am not a rocket scientist, but I am sure that a guy with multiple degrees that runs a seminary has other specialties.
My first dinner in New Orleans last week was very impacting for me. It was a tremendous reminder of what God has called Christians to do. We are here to serve others. Leaders are expected to humble themselves and serve others. Jesus continually met the needs of others. And when the situation called for it, He did the job no one else wanted to do. I would imagine people would want to wash feet as much as they would want to handle other people's trash.
I have never been more proud to be apart of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary than when I saw my President serving others through trash duty.