Cal Lord: We're all 'somebody' in God's phone book
It was a phone book. I was out for my morning walk with our dog, Anna, when I saw it. I don’t know how long it had been sitting on the sidewalk leading up to their house, but it looked like it had been there for some time. It was still in it’s cellophane wrapper, and there was condensation built up inside. I wondered if the resident knew it was there or was just ignoring it.
It seems like phone books are becoming obsolete today. We don’t use them like we used to. I have most of my friend’s phone numbers programmed into my cellphone. When I want to order pizza, check the store hours or find out where a business is located, I look for the information I need online. Everything is available on your smartphone or through your Internet browser in seconds.
When most of us were growing up, there was something magical about the phone book. It was like a dictionary or a road map. It opened your world and made it a bigger place. To find your name, your street, your friends, meant you were somebody.
I am reminded of the scene in Steve Martin’s hilarious movie, “The Jerk.” Navin Johnson, the character he plays, goes out to get the phone book. Jumping up and down with excitement, he flips through the pages to find his name. When he does, he declares that he is somebody now. We laughed at it, but deep inside, we connected to that scene at some level.
Seeing that phone book sitting there made me sad. Modern technology has made dinosaurs of the phone book, the road map and the dictionary. We are living in a different world than the one we grew up in. That’s life. We should be used to it by now. Everything changes. But here is the good news. God doesn’t change. The one who created us out of love knows our name. He knows where we live. He understands the struggles we are going through.
He doesn’t need Facebook to get our status updates, Twitter to see what is trending in our lives or Instagram to find out who we are with and what we are doing. He created us out of love and continues to reach out to us. Psalm 139 tells us that God knows us intimately. He even knows what we are going to say before the words leave our lips.
The best part of it all is that God knows our name, and he dials up our number every day. Our name is written in his book of life, and that is the one that counts.
So move over, Navin Johnson. You can throw away the phone book. In God’s book, we are all a “somebody.”
God bless. See you in church.
The Rev. Cal Lord is a Norwich resident and serves as pastor at Central Baptist Church of Westerly. Reach him at email@example.com.