From center stage to best supporting actor …

The first time I visited Universal Studios in southern California, I became a movie star.

Okay, that might be somewhat of an exaggeration, but I was able to do a few seconds of acting that was spliced into a major movie, and my name was added to the credits.

I guess I better explain …

Back then, Paramount Theater had an event within Universal Studios that helped people get a feel for what it was like to make a movie. The first 40 or so people arriving outside the Paramount Theater were recruited for a fun time of acting, so I made sure I got there early. Sure enough, I was one of the people picked for this event, and we were herded into the theater and back stage where it was explained to us we would be “actors” in one of four video snippets that would be spliced into a short scene from one of the “Star Trek” movies.

I was then outfitted in a complete Star Fleet officer’s uniform and then spent a few minutes in make-up before being taken to my assigned stage. There were four massive sub-stages on wheels, and my scene was the bridge of the USS Enterprise. I was to play a Star Fleet officer who was in the elevator and would walk out while the ship was under attack; then I was to hit a button on a console, then stumble back into the elevator. All the others on the bridge were to thrash and bounce from side-to-side as if the ship was being pelted by proton torpedoes.

So I went into the elevator, and from there I could see the other three sub-stages moving into their positions behind the one I was on. Suddenly, an announcer began speaking to the crowd while, at the same time, the sub-stage I was on began moving behind the massive curtains. When the announcer stopped talking, the curtains opened and, in front of an audience of 500 people, it was time to act.

I pulled off my scene without a glitch!

Then the curtains fell, our little stage moved away and the next sub-stage took the curtain. My few seconds in the spotlight was done. For $25, I could buy a video that had the scene dubbed into a single scene from a “Star Trek” movie, and at the end, my name had been added as being the actor who was the “Officer in elevator.”

I wasn’t nominated for any awards, but a whole lot of fun was had by all.

If you’re a “Star Trek” fan, you know if you ever got a chance to be in one of the “Star Trek” movies, you would never want to be one of the minor, unnamed officers, especially on a security detail beamed down to some planet. Why? Because you’re the one who’s going to be killed off! It’s not going to be one of the leading stars, they’re too important to get rid of because the show depends on them. It’s always the “extras” who get killed by the latest enemy on some strange planet.

As I was remembering this experience, I thought we often tend to cast our lives in the same way movies cast scenes. There are those people who are most important to us, the people who “star” in our lives, and all the others are extras who can be killed off. We don’t mind if the enemy kills them as long as the key actors in our story stay around.

But life isn’t like the movies.

All those other people who seemingly fill in the background of our lives are just as important to God as we are, even if we don’t make them important to us. No one is “just an extra.”

Not everyone will take center stage in your life, but for the fleeting seconds or minutes someone does step into your life, why not let them be a star to you, if for just a moment? You never know what they can bring to the scenes of your life, and you never know what you might be contributing to theirs. You also never know when God will add someone to your life as a best supporting actor, or when He will cast you in that role for someone new in your life.

Real life isn’t like the movies because God didn’t make expendable extras!

How can you show greater value to the people who spend seconds, minutes, a few hours, or a couple of days in your life? How can you become a great “best supporting actor” to others?