Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bumping the Lamp

Over the years a significant source of influence on my leadership and ministry has been lessons learned from the Disney Institute.  Disney has an amazing understanding of leadership principles, service, vision, “branding,” and creativity.  Every time I read a Disney book or attend an Institute class I am challenged in ways like no other program I know.

Perhaps my favorite Disney concept comes from a scene in the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  The scene always causes me to ask myself, "Am I bumping the lamp?"

In the film there’s a moment in which a character bumps his head on a hanging lamp and the swinging lamp casts moving shadows all across the room.  In the original version no one bumped the lamp and therefore the shadows didn’t move.  But the creators thought the scene lacked “something” so they went back and “bumped the lamp.”

It took more money and lots of extra hours to bump the lamp and the creators will admit that viewers would have never noticed if there were no shadows in the scene.  It would have been easier, less time consuming and less expensive to leave the scene as it was.  But Disney creators weren’t satisfied with what was quickest or what was good enough.  Their goal was to produce excellence – so they went back and bumped the lamp.

In ministry our task is to look for ways to “bump the lamp.”  There’s a great illustration of what that looks like in 1 Kings 7.  There we find a bronze worker named Huram (not to be confused with Huram the King of Tyre - I'm sure lots of you were confused by that) who is summoned by King Solomon to participate in the construction of the Temple.  Huram was responsible for two large bronze columns.  At the top of the columns - more than thirty feet up in the air (and this is important:  where no one would be able to see it) Huram added the detail of 200 pomegranates cast in bronze.

Here's the point:

Huram paid just as much attention to the details no one would ever notice as he did to the things more visible.  Huram was working for an audience of One - the only one who would ever see the top of the Temple columns - God.  Huram could have finished his work quicker, settled for good enough and headed home – but instead Huram bumped the lamp.

So here’s the question for you are for me:

Are we settling for good enough – or are we bumping the lamp?

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