"Is there anybody going to listen to my story?"
That's the question John Lennon of The Beatles asked waaaaay back in 1965. It's also the question film director Julie Taymor asked the world this past month with the release of her film called Across the Universe. It's basically a 'boy meets girl' story set in the confused and chaotic decade of the 1960s. The plotline moves much like a knife spreading a thin square of butter over the rich bread of a Beatles soundtrack, and the result is a quasi-filling movie that satisfies on many levels – but still leaves you hungry for more.
One thing that Across the Universe succeeded in was time machining the audience back into one of the most revolutionary times in American history. The 1960s was a decade painted with the psychedelic backdrop of riots, war, peace, and "all you need is love." But most of all, it was driven by a generation who echoed the same question John Lennon brought up –
Is there anybody going to listen to my story?
What's behind that question is also what's behind many of our questions, because it's not simply an issue of getting someone to listen, it's actually an inquiry into whether or not your story even matters. The trippie hippie 60s folks tried to create meaning by protesting, experimenting, and Woodstocking. But in my estimation, it worked about as well as a one-legged man in a three legged race.
So what makes your story meaningful? This generation seems to be looking in some of the same places as our forefathers in the 1960s – as in "if-we-all-just-get-along-and-don't-contribute-to-global-warming" ... people will then listen to my story.
I hate to break bad news to you, but that dog won't hunt. From one perspective, you're just one of 6,602,224,175 people on this planet. In a few years you won't see 98% of the people from your school who currently make such a difference in your life. In ten years you'll be just another link in the American work force chain. In 100 years you'll be gone, and in 200 years no one will even remember your name.
How's that for happy thoughts?!?
Again, I said from one perspective ... but there is another. This perspective is one that doesn't even ask if anybody is going to listen to your story, because it knows that Someone already is – and that makes all the difference in the world. That Someone is Jesus Christ, and here is the way he describes this perspective:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Jesus is pointing out two things here. The "thief" He refers to is Satan – and his goal is to "steal, kill, and destroy." How? By convincing you that nobody is going to listen to your story, so it's OK to follow the world's way of filling the hours with sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Or maybe these days it's more like friends with benefits, bling, and social networking. Either way, it's an express lane to a meaningless life. That's why Jesus offers a better way. He offers life – and not only in an eternal sense in heaven, but in a "full" sense here on earth. The word for "life" here means "real life" – as in authentic and genuine. The word for "full" that Jesus uses means "above and beyond" – as in beyond what you'd expect.
So in other words, Jesus is saying you have two choices with your story. One is to be fooled by Satan the thief and try to get people to listen the world's way. Do that, and you'll end up like a lot of 60s folks – burned out and forgotten.
The other is to realize that Jesus Christ is already listening, so you can serve Him and live life above and beyond anything you could imagine. Through a relationship with Jesus Christ, the soundtrack of your life will be a melodic collage of love, meaning, purpose, value, authenticity, contentment, and other tracks you never thought possible.
And that's a story worth listening to!
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.