Boseman, who has had roles on “Law & Order,” “CSI: New York,” “Persons Unknown” and “Fringe,” was an interesting study in human behavior as I watched his performance on a monitor with the production crew in Chattanooga on June 1.
His performance was well received, but it was his demeanor later that evening that made a lasting impression. When it was time for a break, we were invited to join the crew for refreshments after a gourmet meal earlier in the day. Surprisingly, Boseman joined the crowd in such an inconspicuous way that he almost went unnoticed. I recognized him when someone with the production team was calling him “Chad.”
So I approached him and introduced myself. He extended his hand and we shook. I then congratulated him for landing the role of a lifetime and he thanked me in a soft, unassuming voice. Being a graduate from the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford meant he studied classical theater with leading actors and directors of the British stage. With such a background in the performing arts, I could only assume that he was also groomed in the fine art of social behavior as a performer.
We talked briefly. I explained that I was also a reporter with a local newspaper and covered the filming of “42,” from the extras’ perspective. He nodded his head and thanked me. Suddenly, everyone was leaving the break area, returning to their stations. As I was leaving, however, I noticed Boseman practicing yoga in a standing position. With his eyes closed and the tips of his middle fingers touching the tips of his thumbs, he appeared to block out the noise around him. I stood there watching until someone said, “Chad, they’re ready for you on the set.”
After a few hours it was over. The scene was finished. The production crew quickly loaded the trucks and drove to the next scene being shot at Engel Stadium. The extras, however, were among the last to leave and wondering if they were done for the day. Out of nowhere, Boseman walked into the midst of the small extras cast and shook hands with each individual, thanking them for their contribution. He then posed with several of them, men and women, allowing their special moment to be caught on camera.
Afterwards, he walked with them to where the vans would pick them up and take them back to wardrobe, talking with those who were comfortable enough to talk to him. Minutes later I noticed he was behind us practicing some impressive martial arts maneuvers. As his van arrived, he invited some extras to join him. He then asked me what paper I worked for. I was pleased to tell him and we shook hands once more. That was the last I saw of Chadwick Boseman.
In an era where most stars keep their distance, this one shined a little brighter because he came within reach and allowed himself to be seen for who he really is — an approachable, likeable and considerate gentleman who values people and enjoys interacting with them when he can. His behavior made me reflect on the qualities that make all men, great and small, valuable in the eyes of God.
When Jesus Christ was asked, “Who really is greatest in the kingdom of the heavens?” Matthew 18:2-3 says he called a young child to him, set the child in their midst and said in verse 4, “Whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one that is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens.” — New World Translation.
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.” — Good News Translation. In this regard, no one demonstrated more humility on earth than the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Although Jesus existed in heaven with his Father, according to John 17:5, his appearance on the earth as a carpenter’s son — willing to mingle with the poor, help the downtrodden, treat women and children with kindness while offering the hope of eternal life to all who showed faith in him — set the perfect example for all God’s people in dealing with others humbly, respectfully and with dignity.
He told his disciples at Luke 22:25-26, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” — New Living Translation.
Do you think the Apostle Peter ever forgot the lesson in humility Jesus taught his disciples on the night he washed their feet? Would you? Peter wrote at 1Peter 5:5-6, "Indeed, all of you should wrap yourselves in the garment of humility towards each other, because God sets his face against the arrogant but favours the humble. Humble yourselves then under God's mighty hand, and he will lift you up in due time." - The New English Bible.
Outstanding people in the eyes of God are humble and respectful toward all. They realize we are all flawed. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, says Romans 3:23. Appreciating this, in itself, should keep us humble and considerate in dealing with others. That's what I was thinking when I watched this young man.
Like Robinson’s debut into the major leagues, Boseman is debuting as a major star in a major motion picture. All eyes are on him. Not unlike his role as the baseball legend, this actor — off screen — is demonstrating qualities that all true servants of God should exemplify in imitation of the greatest man who ever lived, Jesus Christ.
By exhibiting this godly quality we are better able to round the bases of life and walk safely into our long awaited home.
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