One Sunday, a good while back, we had a guest speaker roll into our church.
I don’t remember his name or exactly where he came from, so let’s just say he was a middle-aged guy from Texas. If you need a physical description, let’s go with he looked like golfer Greg Norman. In fact, we’ll just call him “Greg.”
Greg took the stage by force. He claimed it. Like Christopher Columbus stepping foot onto the New World, Greg strode out from behind the curtains and firmly planted himself behind the pulpit.
“Here we go,” I thought … and off we went.
Greg ran us through some scriptures and then points 1, 2, and 3 (and maybe a few more). And he told stories. His sermon was chock-full of them. Some of them so transparent that they were painful to take in. But we kept listening; Greg had our full attention.
Did I mention that he was a hyper-guy? He constantly moved in spurts and jerks, like an 8mm film that had been slightly sped up. And his words came out a little bit faster than I was expecting.
And after it was all over, when Cheryl and I had made it out of the building and into our car, we began working through what Greg had said. We weren’t quite sure what to think about that morning’s message.
But now that we’ve had a good deal of time to reflect on it, we’re convinced that it was exactly what we needed to hear.
What did Greg talk about? Why do we remember it all these years later?
Well, he spoke about successes and failures … about the normal ups and downs of life. And, at that moment, he just happened to be in a down time. He was not at the top of his game; he freely admitted it. He shared these things in a very personal way.
And then he said the thing that we’ve never forgotten. A sentence that made its way into our stock of family phrases.
Greg said, “Everybody’s got something big going on.”
That was it. And he made us repeat it a couple of times so we’d remember. And then he said it again. And he stressed the part about “everybody.”
“Everybody’s got something big going on.”
A health challenge.
A broken marriage.
A financial crisis.
An aging parent.
An angry boss.
If we thought about it, we could probably fill dozens more lines with big things.
Because when we get to know someone very well—when we get to know him or her at a “real” level—we see that it's true. We’re all a little bit broken. We’ve all got something BIG going on in our lives.
It’s kind of depressing to think about.
But it’s also kind of encouraging … because we are all in this together. We all have our issues.
The big things teach us how much we need each other.
They teach us how much we need God.