It happens just about every Sunday, just about every time I preach or speak at an event or function. When I finish presenting, I sneak to the back of the room, right by the exit, and I shake hands with people as they leave. Most people know the drill. They are supposed to say, “Nice sermon, Pastor.” That’s the secret code. That is the church world’s equivalent to, “The crow flies at midnight!”-- the closest thing to a correct password to get out the door. Over the years I’ve heard lots of comments from folks on their way out. I’ve heard a ton of, “Nice sermon, Pastor” comments. Other comments have been very encouraging, some have been backhanded corrections, and sometimes people are downright nasty.
But there is one comment I’ve heard that is by far the best remark ever to come my way. There is one top comment and no other comment even comes in as a close second. I’ve heard this comment twice in my two-plus decades of speaking--once a few years ago and once this past month. There is one comment that has been the best comment I ever heard after speaking.
Here it is: “Are you Tricia’s Dad? Tricia is awesome!”
That’s the best comment I’ve ever heard after speaking.
Why is that comment so meaningful to me?
1. Because it’s not about me. Both times I heard the comment about Tricia I was startled to be brought back to reality. It is not about me. A while back Max Lucado wrote a book titled, “It’s Not About Me.” I didn’t read it, because, well, it’s not about me!
It’s easy to get caught up in the notion that it is about us. As preachers, presenters, we’re artists and each talk is a part of us, we’re putting ourselves out there and we take each comment pretty personally. But when I was asked about Tricia, I was reminded to take myself less seriously.
I have received similar comments about my boys when they have preached at church or led worship. I’d stand at the back and hear a lot of, “You must be so proud” remarks. But I expected those. When I was asked if I was Tricia’s Dad, I was unexpectedly startled back to reality.
2. Because it’s not about somebody else either. Tricia really is awesome. She’s awesome in large part because she has an awesome mother. Tricia is awesome because as iron sharpens iron she has allowed her brothers to sharpen her. Tricia is awesome because she has some great friends who have helped to awesome-her-up. Tricia is awesome because she has had many mentors and coaches and teachers and church families that have helped shape her life.
But the “Tricia is awesome” line wasn’t about them.
3. Because it’s not even about Tricia. One man made this “Tricia” comment to me a few years ago and he talked about how Tricia had been a big influence with his daughter. The more recent comment came from a college-aged girl who talked about how Tricia had spent many late nights talking and counseling with her, and how her life was now changed. I remember them talking initially about Tricia, but they went on to talk more about how God was working and the Kingdom was spreading and something powerful was at work.
4. Because it’s about God. When I heard, “Are you Tricia’s Dad? Tricia is awesome!” I sensed the awesomeness of God. He is alive and working in ways we may never know, in people we may never meet and in places we may never see. It was amazingly encouraging to me to get a glimpse of multiplication, to get a sense of reproduction, and to experience the Kingdom of God expanding.
“How awesome is the Lord Most High!”--Psalm 47:2.
God really is awesome!
By the way, you’re pretty awesome too. You are working hard and touching lives that you may never hear about. God is expanding His Kingdom through you and your family and your church and your ministry. I hope one day real soon you hear an unexpectedly surprising positive comment that reminds you that God continues to be at work--He really is awesome.