Those are the best kind of funerals: the ones that inspire and make us want to be better people. The most inspirational funerals are usually not for those whose passing is reported on the national news however. Among the most influential I’ve ever attended have been the funerals of a music teacher, a postal worker, and a lawyer turned denominational moderator. You don’t have to be famous to be a class act.
So what about Church People? Class Act = Image of Christ, if you ask me. And how are we doing with that?
This is one of those posts I am writing to myself, just like there are sermons I write for myself. I could do a better job trying to live in the Image of Christ.
People watch us for signs of authenticity if we say we are Christians – especially when we are leaders. If we claim to follow Jesus and then act like divas, jerks, trulls, and @#*!s our behavior destroys more than our own souls. But enough preachiness. How can we aspire to be not so much like Mike, but a little more like Jesus?
It’s not enough to excel at our job responsibilities. Being a Class Act includes:
- Speaking the truth without fearing repercussions. Example: ‘Dean Smith appeared at a clemency hearing for a death-row inmate and told then-Governor Jim Hunt, right to his face, “You’re a murderer. The death penalty makes all of us murderers.”‘
- Living a life that includes the excluded. Example: ‘When (Smith) was still an assistant coach, (he) walked to the restaurant with (his pastor)and a theology student . . . who happened to be black. Then they did something radical for the day: The three stood by the door waiting to go inside. “The manager looked through the door and saw that we were there. There was a look of consternation, but the door finally opened and we were served like everybody else.”‘
- Looking out for each other even when there is no benefit for ourselves. Example: ‘I thought I wanted to coach, so I coached Chapel Hill High School for a season and then I went to Virginia Commonwealth. He was very much involved in helping me get the job,” Dick Grubar (’67-’69) said in 2011. “Then I went to Florida for another job and he had his fingerprints all over it.”‘
For more leadership tips from Dean Smith check this out.
Even pastoral ministry sometimes seems bereft of authentic leaders. But every once in a while, we see someone who inspires us and we remember what A Class Act looks like.
Thanks be to God for the life of Dean Edwards Smith (1931-2015)