Vernon folded his 80 year old bones Into the breakfast room chair at Golden Meadows Retirement Home, and grinned at his friend Tom. "Your razor missed a spot this morning, old buddy," he chided, touching his own chin.
"Thanks, Vernon" said Tom. "I'll finish sprucing up before church time." He reached for his orange juice. "Speaking of sprucing up, Vern, you're pretty handsomely dressed, and you look like you've got something you're practically busting out to tell me. What's going on? You got a new lady friend?"
"Nope. But I'm excited about a job interview I'm going on tomorrow morning." Vernon tried unsuccessfully to hide a mischievous grin. "There's a really good movie going to be filmed here in town. The van is going to take me over for an audition to be an extra. You ought to come along. They might be looking for an old unshaven geezer like you."
"You're crazy. We're both in our 80's. No one is going to put us in the movies. Besides, who wants to be an extra? Sounds like something leftover, not anything important."
"Tom, they can't make movies without extras. The movie folks gotta have people sitting at a diner, or walking across a street, or riding the bus, or going to a ball game. And they can't all be 20-something's. They need some of us old guys. Besides, it might be fun."
"Nope. Not for me. I have more important things to do."
"Well ...," Tom hesitated. "Things more important than standing in the background, and being a human prop for someone else's glory."
"Suit yourself," said Vernon, still smiling from ear to ear. "See you in church later. I'm going up my room, dig out that old cane they gave me after my hip surgery, and see if I can remember how to walk with a limp. And decide what hat to wear to the audition, probably my service cap from the war."
Later that morning, the two men sat side by side in the Golden Meadows chapel. The chaplain introduced the verses he'd selected to begin his sermon. "But let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord" (2 Corinthians 10:17 NIV); and "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves" (Philippians 2:3 NIV). "So," said the chaplain, "Let us consider how Jesus is informing us that if we seek glory, we must seek it in Him alone; and how He is calling us to lift up others rather than ourselves."
Tom didn't hear another word the chaplain said. He was too busy listening to the Lord speak to his heart: "Tom, my beloved son, you are important to me. I love you whether you are a star or an extra. Remember that I was lowly born, and lived a lowly life, never was a celebrity. Seek your importance, your value, your glory in me alone. And lift up others whenever and wherever you can. Think about that audition, my son. It might contain opportunities to glorify me, and it could be (ahem) fun."
Tom chuckled quietly. Imagine, the Lord telling him to have fun! Vernon, with a puzzled look on his face, nudged him. "Stand up, Tom. It's time for the hymn."
On the way out of the chapel, Tom leaned over to Vernon. "What time did you say those auditions are tomorrow? I think I'll join you. Who knows, maybe we'll become extras and have a future in the movies!"
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