Operator, Can You Help Me With This Call?
Operator, Can You Help Me With This Call?
In 1972, inspired by his military service, Jim Croce wrote and recorded the song “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels).” According to his widow, Ingrid, while at training, Croce felt disconnected from the things and people that he loved. He routinely saw lines of soldiers waiting to use the telephone, many calling about Dear John letters received. Because they did not always have telephone numbers or numbers had been changed, they relied on the help of the telephone operator to be connected.
Almost 50 years later, we have moved beyond the need of the telephone operator. Today, the internet, telephone information services and social media sites can connect us to almost anybody, anywhere, anytime. If we need to communicate an emotion, there are more than 2,823 emojis available.
We have instant access and can download Christian music, devotionals and even the Bible. Recent technological advances allow us to participate in church services at local theaters, and tune-in to church podcasts from the comfort of our homes. But for all that technology offers, I wonder, is it helping us build better personal and spiritual relationships. Are we disconnecting from each other, and more importantly from God? Do we need an “Operator” to help us with His call?
We could often use an “Operator” to help us connect in our personal, spiritual and work life. Workforce.com reports, about ¾ of American employees’ experience loneliness. During the recent government shut-down, many employees received automated calls and emails informing them not to report to work because their positions were “Non-Essential.” Do you think they felt cared for? Do you think they felt connected to their agencies? Probably not.
Our spiritual relationship is also impacted by our isolation. According to Preachingtoday.com, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends a combined 9 to 33 minutes daily on organizational, civic and religious activities. In contrast, the PEW Research Center (2013) reported, that Americans spent more hours watching television than in worship activities; a 120:1 ratio. Is it any wonder that we may feel disconnected from each other and from God?
But God has always viewed our relationship with Him as important. He was present and walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8, NIV). Even after the “apple” transgression, He didn’t want us to be disconnected from Him. He knew we would need help connecting and He had a plan.
Why would God long for a relationship with us, and why is it so important that we connect to Him? Let’s start by understanding that God already loves us. God knew and loved us before we came into existence. Jeremiah 1:5 (TLB) tells us:
“I knew you before you were formed within your mother’s womb; before you were born...”
Once we accept the reality of this relationship, we have all we need to begin our relationship with Him. Secondly, God has already created a way for us to connect to Him. He sent Jesus to redeem and connect us to Him. Imagine that! God sent an “Operator” to help us connect and establish a relationship with Him. To establish a relationship with God, we need a relationship with Jesus. John 14:6-7 (MSG) tells us:
“Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!””
But God doesn’t want some ordinary relationship. He isn’t looking for adoration or fanaticism, but a relationship based on a deep love with Him and for each other. Jesus tells us (Matthew 22:27-40, NIV):
‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Because of His love, God’s plan is always for our good (Ephesians 2:10, NIV). Psychologist Elaine Hatfield describes this type of relationship as “Compassionate Love.” Hatfield states that “this type of love involves caring deeply for the other person, truly knowing the other individual, and being committed to the other person through both good times and bad. Even when disagreements take place, people who share compassionate love remain in love and dedicated to one another.” Isn’t this kind of relationship worth more than 9 - 33 minutes a day?
Leadership requires that we be connected to others and in turn they be connected to us. No matter how disconnected you may feel, Jesus will help you with your call. He is the “Operator” that will connect you to God. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, need to ramp up your current relationship, or just have doubts, start today with prayer. Author Max Lucado (2018) says, “Prayer is not the last resort; it is the first step.” Won’t you take the first step in connecting to Him?
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