Back in the day when I was a Student Pastor, I used to have a pocket full of illustrations for students.  You know the ones…the cutesy little gems that you’d whip out whenever times got tough and kids needed a pick-me-up:

  • Did you guys know that no two snowflakes are alike?  That means you’re unique and special…um…just like everyone else.
  • There was a fat king who was dethroned by his brother, and his brother put him in a prison cell with no door.  But he’d give him all he wanted to eat, and so the fat king was imprisoned by his own belly.  So the moral is…um…don’t eat too much.

But maybe one of my favorite – and somewhat serious – illustration was balcony people and basement people.  I’m sure this isn’t original with me, but I’m equally sure that I couldn’t tell you who I stole it from.  But as I told my junior highers, every one of us have these two types of people in our lives.

Basement people are those that suck the life out of you.  They drag you down to the lower levels of life.  They take and take and take and rarely give.  They are capable of draining sunshine from the Sahara in August.  I’m convinced that God gives us basement people because (a) we need to love those people, even though sometimes we want to push them off a cliff, and (b) they make the balcony people look so doggone sweet.

Balcony people are the bright spots of our lives.  They are the ones that infuse you with energy, that call you to new levels of ministry, service, and devotion to God, and sometimes they smell like daisies.  You always walk away encouraged, always walk away challenged, and always walk away inspired to be a balcony person to somebody else.

Can you identify the basement and balcony people in your life?  You need both.  And more importantly, ask yourself: “Am I calling people up, or dragging them down?”

Smell like a daisy.  Don’t drain the sunshine.  And if you want to do that around me, that’s cool…because I’m all about some balcony peeps.