Beyond Laughter

By Mark A. Taylor

All of us know the value of a good giggle. Long before the folks at Reader’s Digest called their joke page “Laughter, the Best Medicine,” the Bible declared, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

That’s why we like Wayne Smith. Everyone who’s spent any time around him has left laughing. And, as you’ll discover from the excerpt printed this week, those who read his new biography, Love, Laughter and Leadership, will chuckle too. Author Rod Huron has a healthy sense of humor himself, and he writes with a smile through all 276 pages of the paperback.

But those close to Wayne, those who have worked with him or been helped by him (and their numbers are legion), know he’s not a comedian. Even our few pages lifted from his life story show his deeper side. We should learn to laugh from Wayne, but that’s not all.

Wayne has taught us about work. Everyone who would build a church today should see Wayne Smith dutifully trudging up and down the streets of Lexington, knocking on doors, inviting people he didn’t know to his church plant. “I never said I was the smartest,” Wayne says, “but I figured I could outwork about anybody.”

Wayne has taught us about humility. He did not try to impress the powerful, the famous, or the affluent. As often as not he was intimidated by them, and sometimes he just told them so. But he did not hide from them when he knew God’s work depended on a contact.

Wayne has taught us about giving. Governors and coaches and bank presidents have one thing in common: most people they know want something from them. Read Wayne’s life story, and you’ll discover how many people like these have sought out Wayne most likely because he was eager to serve them. “You make a living by what you get,” Wayne says. “You make a life by what you give.”

Wayne has taught us about leadership. “Wayne is an intentional leader,” Rod Huron observes, “a mentor before the word became fashionable, an innovator ahead of his time, an advocate for issues large and small.”

I’m glad Rod wrote this book, not so much because we’ll enjoy it (although, of course we will), but because we can become better servant leaders by studying it.

Take a dose of Wayne Smith this week. It will make you smile, help you serve, and leave you eager for more. It’s hard to imagine, in fact, any better medicine.

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