It was just a little fist bump, but that exchange between a boy and a basketball star suggests that a moment of kindness can bring great joy.
DEVIN R. SMITH
I have a quick clip that came across my feed recently that I wanted to share with you. It is only a few seconds, so go ahead and watch …
It was a short little clip, but as I saw that this past week, it also served as such a stark reminder for me. That little boy is rocking his Lebron James Space Jam jersey. Then he sees Lebron James walking out onto the court, something James has done for 1,364 games in his career. The star athlete is walking onto the court and happens to catch a glimpse of that little boy. Instead of walking by, continuing his warm-up, and getting his head in the right space for the night’s game, Lebron takes a slight swerve to the side to give that little boy a fist bump and pat on the head.
The boy’s reaction! He turns and has such joy and excitement in his eyes, such gratitude for what amounts to about a two-second interaction. Of course, Lebron didn’t have to do it. But he did, and he made that one boy’s night. Even though the feeling only lasted for a moment, he made that child feel special.
That video and the thought of making a difference to someone have stuck in my head this last week. It might be in part because I am preaching on the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin this Sunday. On the other hand, it could be because of a conversation I had today with a woman who started attending our church after recently losing her father. Whatever the cause, it has been on my mind how much of a difference we can sometimes make through the smallest of efforts.
Those parables tell of the shepherd or the woman searching until every last one of those lost items was found and returned to their rightful place. But reading those Scriptures, I’ve also wondered if we should not also make the extra effort for those who may not yet be lost but are struggling? Those who may be a part of the flock feel pushed to the outside, feeling like they are not important, feeling a little lost even if they aren’t physically separated yet.
What if we were intentional about reaching out to those who might be looking, searching, and hoping for something a little more in their life? What if we didn’t just walk on by but took a moment to reach out for the metaphorical fist bump they might need. That small effort might mean the world to them. It might be what they need to find themselves after feeling lost. Just one little “fist bump” might be the action that helps bring them back into the fold more fully.
There are plenty of those who feel lost out there these days. I believe they each could use just the smallest of encouragement, a reminder that they are important and loved.
I hope every one of you watching or reading this knows that you are special and loved. And I hope that we can work to make sure everyone we encounter knows the same.
~ Rev. Devin R. Smith is pastor of Romeo United Methodist Church. This devotion is reprinted with permission from Extraordinary Connection, March 23, 2022.