Monday, August 2, 2010

Have You Been Chosen?

Have you been chosen?

My family and I recently visited Disney World. It was a “magical” experience for Kameron who turned five years of age while we were there. He is so proud to be five. He announced the other day that because he is now five he no longer watches “Noggin” but has now graduated to “Discovery Kids.”

I learned a lot about Disney World. I was impressed that such an organization began as a dream in the mind of one man who was willing to buy an orange grove in central Florida and dedicate his organization to making the dreams of children come true. The park has grown to 47 square miles today and only about 25% of it is actually developed.

To give you an idea of how massive is the service sector of this organization: Disney World employs approximately 54,000 people from all across the world. It is the largest single-site employer in the United States. 30,000 outfits of cast members are laundered daily! They serve more than 50 million cokes and 10 million hamburgers per year.

Innovation is such an important concept there. My son was fascinated by the talking garbage cans. Many are taken by the talking, walking palm tree at the entrance of Animal Kingdom. The massive amount of human waste in motels and theme parks is not ‘wasted’, it is used as fertilizer in the park’s tree farm which provides trees and shrubs for its landscaping. Cinderella’s castle is not made of stone, the entire structure is made of fiber glass.

I have a natural curiosity about people and I found myself studying the people who worked there. I saw a man at the ticket booth at Magic Kingdom who was born deformed. His arms were no bigger than broom sticks but he was working his station with a loyalty that seems to characterize Disney’s employees. I saw a man that was mentally impaired working at the stroller rentals. His co-workers were assisting him so that his impairment didn’t compromise the quality of his work.

I noticed that these people wore tags with their names on them along with the city and country from which they had come. I wondered what criteria the organization used to hire 54,000 employees? I discovered that all employees must attend the Disney Institute where they learn what is required to be chosen to work for Disney. 10% of those who watch the introductory film leave on their own account when they learn that they are to dress modestly and have no tattoos or wear excessive makeup.

These employees come from different parts of the world. They all have different personalities and they’ve all become who they are by an accumulation of experiences that are theirs alone. Outwardly, there is no one common characteristic but the screening process must certainly reveal a special kind of personality. My son wore a birthday badge and at the end of a day of near 100 degree temperatures, every employee was cheerfully wishing him a happy birthday.

I was reminded of the Old Testament story of Samuel as he goes to the house of Jesse and looks for a king to replace Saul. The one who seemed to be least qualified, the youngest, wasn’t even in the line-up of seven sons. He was out on the Judean hills tending a flock of sheep and protecting his father’s wealth. This was David, ‘a man after God’s own heart’, who was finally chosen to be King of Israel. He was not chosen for his appearance, nor was he chosen because he was well-behaved, (he would become an adulterer and a murderer), he was chosen because “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7)

God is building a magical kingdom and he has certain duties and responsibilities he wants done. His kingdom grows well because he employs those who are servant-minded and willing to do the small things, the grunt work. Those who prove themselves faithful in the small things (watching sheep) will one day slay giants (Goliath). Some are chosen, some are not. Are you chosen?

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