Aug 21, 2014

Elevator Operator

About This Video

Howard Butt Jr. shares an encouraging message about transforming the places we work into opportunities for community—even if that place is an elevator. Talk about outrageous hospitality!

Community in an eight-by-eight space. What an amazing example of work, faith, and creativity coming together to transform a place that most of us see as a kind of limbo. Elevators aren't supposed to be places; they're supposed to get us to places, right? For Bruce Renfroe, though, that in-between space was where he spent most of his time. If most of us were running an elevator, wouldn't it be tempting just to assume the same blank expression as everyone else and be content?

Maybe. But that's not what Bruce did. He took a marginal space and turned it into a destination in its own right. So often, it's the in-between times of life that affect the rest of it most significantly. How different would our lives look if we had a few minutes every day on Bruce's elevator? How different would our places of work look if we tried to do the same thing he did?

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Transcript: Bruce Renfroe, an elevator operator in New York City, quickly came to recognize the same somber faces riding his elevator every day. The passengers rarely spoke or even acknowledged one another. Bruce Renfroe took action. He hung pictures in his elevator. He played jazz. He even kept his Bible there. In an eight-by-eight space, he did his best to build community. And it worked! Riding up in the mornings and back down after five, people began to talk to each other and to share parts of their lives with their small elevator family.

This is Howard Butt, Jr., of Laity Lodge. An elevator operator makes a difference in lives—in a few short moments each day. What about you? Where can you make a difference in the lives you touch? It's the high calling of our daily work.

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