Tuesday, June 28, 2005
It Just Doesn't Matter
The topic of the radio talk show was, "What is your favorite Bill Murray movie?" Immediately I was overwhelmed by the possibilities. Just think of them all. As a young man with an interest in golf, I loved Caddyshack, often imitating Murray's Carl the Groundskeeper stepping up to address the ball doing the fake television commentary: "The Cinderella story coming out of the pack, to lead at Augusta. He's about 185 yards away. Looks like he's got an 8 iron. . . Oh! It's in the hole!" Or ten years later, Murray played the psychotic title character in What About Bob? But how could you leave out Groundhog Day where he played a weatherman reliving the same day over and over again? Or Murray as the wise-cracking Dr. Peter Venkman getting "slimed" in Ghostbusters?
My pick was Stripes; a goofy movie about a guy who has failed at life and so decides to join the Army. It's one of those movies I've seen a hundred times and can't seem to turn off when I find it on the satellite dish. The radio host's pick was a surprising one -- Meatballs -- Murray's first "real" film. I don't remember much about Meatballs. I do remember seeing it back in 1979 when it first was released. I recall that Murray played a "cool" counselor at a summer camp for kids. His camp had an annual sports contest with the "rich kids' camp" across the lake, and the rich brats always won. So Murray gave a pep talk (of sorts) to the kids, telling them that they should try their hardest because "it just doesn't matter if we win because all the cute girls would still date the kids from the other camp because they've got all the money." The campers then get worked into a frenzy, chanting, "It just doesn't matter! It just doesn't matter!"
I never quite understood the whole "It just doesn't matter" rationale. To me, if it just doesn't matter, then why bother? Doesn't that seem the more natural reaction? Or am I just lazier than most? Whatever. It must have worked because those rich kids got whipped for the first time and more hilarious camp hijinx ensued.
But the whole apathetic mindset still rears it's ugly head in real life. What? You don't care about apathy? (Pausing until you get the pun. There. That ought to be long enough.) I have to admit there are days when I don't care just how much I don't care either. And about some things, that's probably OK. I can afford to be apathetic about Paris Hilton "retiring" from whatever it is she is retiring from. It just doesn't matter. It's not a problem that I don't care about someone setting a new world's record for continuous hopscotch playing. It just doesn't matter. But when it comes to my prayer life or my devotional time or my study of the Word... it matters.
In my line of work, I get to talk to all sorts of people about spiritual issues. I'm amazed at the people who consider themselves to be "good Christians" who not only don't read their Bible, but don't feel the slightest twinge of guilt about it. "Hey, it just doesn't matter, right? What difference does it make to God if I've read Lamentations or Amos or Romans?" Or a guy like Bill, who openly admits he only prays when he needs something, but wouldn't think of offering a prayer of thanks. But it's not just those people. It's even people like, well, um. . . me.
There are times when I'm tempted to put God on the back burner. It just doesn't matter if I forget to thank Him for my meal or if I skip devotions tonight, right? Of course in the overall scope of things it probably doesn't matter if I fall asleep before my quiet time this evening. But the damage is done in equating my relationship with my Savior with another item on the to-do list for the day. Once again, it's the heart which is important. And while I can justify missing some private time with God, it's the attitude of wanting to miss it that is important to recognize. When I see that in myself, I am ashamed. Because the condition of my heart does matter.
If you struggle with apathy concerning your spiritual life, know this: God wants to share time with you. Don't you think it matters when you want to put off your Creator to catch some goofy Bill Murray movie on television?
We should all remember that a relationship with Jesus Christ is not a burden, but a priviledge. We make it a burden when we try to slough off and shortcut our way through our Christian walk. We throw another heavy weight on our own backs when we fail to realize that Christ frees us instead of shackling us. We weigh ourselves down when we think we don't matter to God. And we nearly knock ourselves over when we tell ourselves that spending time with God just doesn't matter.
What matters is the condition of our heart. A person with an apathetic heart is tired and bogged down with the world's troubles and concerns. But a happy heart belongs to the person who knows that his devotion and service to His Master do matter. It really does matter.