Friday, October 19, 2007

Matter: (n) 1. the substance or substances of which any physical object consists or is composed.
7. something of consequence... 8. importance or significance. (


Do I matter?

Is there any reason I stride this planet, hereandnow, any reason at all apart from random biological chance during my conception? Has God actually created me--via my parents and all my ancestors up the chain of being--or am I a physiological accident?

If I'm nothing more than a genetic crapshoot, then the issue ends here. C'est la vie, c'est la mort--rien n'est important. (My attempt at philosophical French: "That's life, that's death, nothing is important.")

But if I am crafted, if I am brought into being deliberately by my Creator, then the question still arises, unsatisfied: Do I matter? Am I important in the works of creation? Would the universe suffer by my absence?

I am terrified at the thought of being inconsequential to God. No, I mis-write. Not inconsequential. Wrong. I am terrified at the thought of being God's mistake, that somehow, by my sin(s) and ineptitude at life, I have caused God to wrap me in tissue paper, shove me in a shoebox, and put me on the shelf. Neatly labeled and out of the way. "Out of the way, thank God."

I am terrified my life does not matter. I type this with tears in my eyes. I am terrified my life has no eternal value, not even temporal such. Yes, Jesus died to save me, redeem me, etc. Yes, yes, yes, I stipulate all of that. But for yesterday and today, I question if my life has value. Have I cocked up to the extent God has sidelined me? My life as a Christian has hardly been exemplary. My charitable giving is spotty at best. I absolutely refuse to sacrifice a second's worth of my time to anyone or anything that does not promise entertainment, profit or at least emotional anesthesia in return.

I am exhausted. I have cried out to God to let me matter. I don't mean naming a bridge or a school after me mattering. I don't mean my name in lights on a marquee or bandied about by tv news anchors or celebrities mattering. I don't want to be a household name like Billy Graham. I would find that level of "mattering" shallow and draining.

What matters about mattering to me? I want people's lives to be better because I was there. That's all. Yes, my name in lights would be nice, what, I'm the Dalai Llama or Ghandi? O hell no! But more than the surface crap, far more, is the matter of mattering to other people. Of mattering to their hearts, souls and spirits. No, I do not want be Jesus Christ! No one wants a fat, insecure Messiah. You can't get booked on Letterman if you are.

I don't want to be responsible for someone else's life, either spiritual or temporal: "I wanted to shake your hand, Ken, because without you I would have shotgunned myself right after I killed my family." O God, no no no nono! So what do I want?

I want to live. I want to live my life, the life apportioned to me and designed for me, and I want to know that's what I'm doing and that I'm supposed to be doing it. I want someone's day to be brighter because I was in it, even for a moment. I want to give someone a cold glass of grace when they're laboring in the hot desert wind. No, what I do or say in that one moment won't save them or damn them, I don't want that power--not even a little of it. I want the people I give grace to, to remember me as a conduit of God's grace and they feel more free to turn to God, just maybe, as a result. That they remember if God can use a man like me, He can use them far more profitably for the kingdom of grace.


Do I matter?