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I got another of those urban legend things e-mailed to me today. We all get them. Most are pretty predictable and many have made the loop through my e-mail a half dozen times. This one was different though. It stuck in my mind a little more than most...it kind of haunted me a bit.
Here's the "legend" in a nutshell (as sent to me by my sister). A New York paper reports that some poor guy dies at his desk on Monday and no one notices until Saturday when the cleaning service comes in to clean. Because he was first to work and last to leave and a very diligent worker, no one thought twice about him sitting at his desk for so long.
As I usually do, I checked out the story at www.snopes.com (a great place for checking all the urban legends floating around). Seems like the story has been floating around for years with appearances in British, American, Canadian and even Finnish papers. Of course, it's been all over the Internet. Every time it was printed, the papers reported large numbers of responses from concerned readers.
Here's where this legend started to tug at my heart. Why does this story register with so many people? Why does it keep running loops around the Internet and through the media? Because all of us live with an underlying fear that we don't matter. It's true. It's why pro athletes beat their chests, why Brittney will do anything for attention, why young kids act up for their parents, and why the story of some poor, middle-aged guy dying at his desk hits home for so many.
We simply want to know our lives have significance and that someone cares. When we lose that--when we get to that point where we truly believe we don't matter--we lose all hope. Honestly, I want to know the same thing--that what I did and who I am matters to someone besides...me.
God promises that this is the case for all of us. He cares very deeply for me (see Matthew 10:29-31) even to the point of numbering my hairs. (an easier task for me than for some of His other children). God does have a purpose and plan for me and you. More importantly, He longs for us to live full and abundant lives (John 10:10), not merely just getting by.
Let's be honest, though. Having the love and attention of God--who we cannot touch or see--cannot take the place of relationships here. We need each other. But we've forgotten how to be in friendships with people, to communicate with other human beings and to be real with the people in our lives. Technology (text messaging, e-mail, chat rooms, etc.) has removed our outlet for satisfying one of our greatest needs--human interaction. That's why over 75% of people in one survey I just read, indicated they had felt very lonely in the last month.
That's also why we talk so much about doing life together at RCC. Church is a place where people should be accepted, where men can build strong friendships and look for mentors and buddies who are on the same journey. It's a place for women to find support and comfort for the tough stuff of life. It's a place where teens can know that their significance is not found in accomplishments or rewards but in the meaning that is given to us by our very existence.
I need that. I need to know that there are others on this journey with me.
I found that in my family. I've found that in the others who worship with me at Ridgeview. I found that in Christ. That doesn't mean that there are not lonely days, frustrating days. It just means that every day, regardless of what I feel like, I can live with confidence in this truth:
I (God) know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 MSG