“… He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” — Hebrews 6:10
If you’ve ever watched something like the Winter X Games or the Winter Olympics and have seen the snowboard and ski halfpipe competition, you may have noticed something in the background: After every individual’s run, a crew comes skiing down the middle of the pipe, appearing to smooth out the snow. I recently learned this is called a “slipping crew” and their job is to help make the surface of the pipe as smooth as possible so that the upcoming competitor will have as easy a ride as possible, giving them the best chance to land a clean run.
While a relatively thankless and behind-the-scenes job, this crew’s role is extremely important to the safety and quality of the competition. If they did not do their job, or failed to do it well, the ruts and bumps that would inevitably accumulate from run after run would begin to impact the athletes, such as causing them to hit a groove and spin out or crash. Or at the least, slow them down in getting enough momentum to hit their tricks. The slipping crew matters tremendously!
When I think about this, I realize that this is what each of us has essentially been called to do in this world: make things smoother for others. This is a metaphor for what Jesus meant when He said to love your neighbor as yourself. Most of us are pretty good about doing what we can to make life as efficient and easy on ourselves as possible, but not always to the same extent when it comes to helping others.
We’re all journeying the same general road called “life.” Each of us is certainly walking our own journey on that road, but every person experiences the same things: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to dance and a time to mourn, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to tear and a time to mend, etc. (Ecclesiastes 3). How that plays out for each of us may appear a little different, but nobody goes through life without experiencing at least some form of these things. And that ought to motivate us to look for opportunities to support one another along the way, to make the journey a little easier and the burdens a bit lighter.
This may sound relatively simple, yet it’s not always easy to sacrifice something of your own so another person can better reach their goals. It’s not always easy to take a lesser job and watch someone else get the glory. It’s not always easy to give up some comfort for the benefit of another.
Being part of the slipping crew that smooths the way for others won’t always be convenient or pleasant. But it is Biblical and it is right. Look for ways to make things easier for those around you, even if just by an edifying word, kind deed or the gift of your presence. Realizing you helped make their run in life a better one is worth the investment on your part.
— Katherine Singer
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