Brushes with Greatness

Years ago, before cell phones, Donald Sutherland bumped me with his briefcase in the Atlanta

It happened like this. I was standing at the end of a long bank of pay phones. Younger people won’t appreciate that there once was a time when reasonable adults stood in a line against the wall in public places, shoving quarter after quarter in a tiny slot on a large box with a phone attached. It seems surreal to think that we ever really did it, but we did.

So, I’m standing at the payphone when I see someone walking toward me that I sort of recognized. I started telling the person I’m talking to that someone famous was walking toward me, but I couldn’t think of who it was. I knew I’d seen him on television or in movies, but I  was never particularly good with names and I wasn’t coming up with this one easily. He kept coming closer and he was suddenly at the payphone next to me. He was taller than me, had on a tweed-ish overcoat, and, as he picked up the phone beside mine he swung around and smacked me with his large black briefcase.

He didn’t seem to know he did it. And, even though there was no apology, it somehow felt good, kind of like a privilege, in a way, that I would be chosen to be bumped by Donald Sutherland’s briefcase. It was over much too quickly.

Maybe you’ve had a brush with greatness, too. Maybe it was Elvis, or Patton. Maybe you’ve run into a sports star somewhere or bumped into a popular news reporter on assignment at the mall. Whoever it might have been, what was your reaction to being in their presence? Did they make you feel special in some way? If they did make you feel special or different somehow, did the feeling last?

We Christians say we’ve not only had a brush with greatness, but that that Greatness actually lives inside of us. Why isn’t the world any better for it? (Colossians 1:27a)

ChizBESTJohn Chisum is an internationally appreciated worship leader, songwriter, mentor, and clinician. Click here for information on The Worship Leader’s One-on-One Coaching with John Chisum. For information about booking John for a worship seminar, worship concert, or special event, contact him directly at, or call 251-533-5960.

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