Every great story begins with safety, comfort and provision: with a premonition of rightness and tidiness. And then comes the plot. We are thrust into a maze of conflict, obstruction and uncertainty as the frame of our asylum is contorted beyond recognition and the picture of our world shattered forever (Genesis 3).
I grew up with the notion that Christianity was safe and secure and comfy and perfectionist. That perception caused me much guilt and others worlds of pain because I expected perfection. The man who seeks perfection is destined to misery. I sought salvation by my own merit and by my own works. While I was to be recreated in Christ for that purpose, I was proud enough to believe that they would be my salvation. It involved a scorecard, and it was spiritually tedious (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Christian life was to me an oscillation between salvation and damnation. Forgive the illustration: I had Satan on speed dial, but I had God on Facebook, and I Liked everything He posted and commented and made sure that everyone knew that He and I knew of each other. Yet my spirit was dead. Why? Because I knew of Him, but we did not have a relationship. Though he sought me diligently, I was cheapening His grace by trying to earn it all the time.
The opposite was not the solution either. We would make as great a mistake to take His grace for granted and “continue to sin that grace may abound” (Romans 6:1-2). Yet faith without works is dead faith (James 2:14-26). Ultimately each of us must answer the question, “Does what I do matter?”
What is “matter?” If something has the ability to matter, it means that one is judging himself and even others by some absolute, universal standard. Yep, he believes in absolute truth. I pinch a relativist, she does not like it. “Ow, that hurt! Why did you do that?” With I sigh, I respond “Well, it sure felt good. Do I need a reason?” Yet she still feels hurt because she has hard-wired into her the eternity of God and the perception of right and wrong because she is 100% spirit and 100% flesh (Genesis 2:7). So if some action, word or aroma of the heart can matter, it must matter.
It’s the same realization that every one of us must make in the story that we’ve been born into: we have an impact physically, spiritually and psychologically on everything and everyone in every chapter. There is a turning point; a cross roads; a point of no return that we all come to when we have realized things here really are not how we thought they were. And if they are different, we are different. And if we are different, our lives matter to someone. That someone is Jesus, who came that we may live a life truly alive (John 10:10).
It is the story of Rose and the Tardis, the Pevensies and Narnia, Frodo and the Fellowship. It is Alice and Wonderland, Luke and the Dark Side, Neo and the Matrix. It is fishermen, tax collectors, sadducees and pharisees for the Great Commission. It is you and me and eternity. We are strangers here. We all live in a frame within a frame, and the end is in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).