Pick Up a Broom

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To listen to this reflection as a podcast, click here.

Michael Simone, a pastor in Virginia, calls it Broom Theology.
As a young man Simone worked for a trucking company.  On slow days at the warehouse, when there weren’t many trucks to load, he and his friends would tend to stand around.
That’s when one of the older warehouse bosses would always say, “If you don’t have anything to do, pick up a broom and start sweeping.”  The warehouse floor always needed to be swept.
That’s great advice for the Body of Christ.
If you’re not in the thick of using one of your spiritual gifts or responding to a specific call, look around for someone who needs help.  Go where something needs to get done – where your time and energy can be used by God to make a difference. 
One of the earliest Christian mentors in my life taught me something I have never forgotten:  Leave every place you visit better than you found it.  When you’ve finished your job, and you’re quite convinced that you’ve wrapped things up in your own little area, figure out a way to add value to something else. 
Pick up a broom and start sweeping.
That might mean pausing to pick up discarded trash.  Or offering a word of encouragement – or just listening – to someone who seems cut off from the crowd.  Or asking someone else who is wrestling with a task, “Is there anything I can do to help?” 
You can always declutter the garage.  Or clean up what the dog left in the living room.  Or chop the tomatoes for the salad. 
It’s all too easy to conclude, “It’s not really my shift.  Surely there are people who take care of such things.”  But if we’ve answered the call to become lifelong learners of Jesus, it will quickly dawn on us that we all get to be players in a movement of love that is changing people’s lives for eternity. 
Jesus himself is our model of such servant leadership.  He said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). 
Broom Theology isn’t a passing fad.  It’s a foundational principle of civility.
Its meaning is simple:  It’s always my shift
It’s always the right time, in other words, to do something small that will make the world a better place.