When my daughter Mary Rose was 15 years old (4 years ago), Georgette enrolled her in a couple of classes at Illinois Central College. At that time, I bought her a cell phone so she would be able to call from school if she needed anything. The first voicemail message she recorded for callers to listen to when she wasn’t available to answer the phone went something like this:
Hi this is Mary Rose. I’m sorry I missed your call. Please leave a message after the tone, and if you’re Zac Efron, please keep calling back until you reach me.
If you’re not familiar with Zac Efron, he was the leading teenage male actor in the three High School Musical movies put out by Disney. The first time I heard Mary’s message was when I called her telephone number and she wasn’t available to answer. As soon as I heard the message, I knew exactly what to say. I changed my voice to sound like a young teenage movie star and left the following message:
Um, this is Zac Efron calling. I’m in Europe right now enjoying the sights. Wish you were here with me. When I get back in the states, I’ll give you a call. I heard you have a really cool dad. I hope you give him the love and respect he deserves. In fact, you should do everything he tells you to do. Luv ya baby. Talk to you later.
The following week I left a few more messages on Mary’s voicemail from Zac. Then I decided to get more creative, so I changed my voice to an older man and left this message for her:
Hello Mary, this is Pope Benedict the 16th. I talked to your dad last week about some important theological issues that I needed his advice on. I hope you realize how fortunate you are to have such a loving and caring father. May I remind you that the 4th commandment requires that you honor your father and your mother? You are very blessed to have such wonderful parents. Don’t forget to always show appreciation for what they do for you.
I was on a roll. Here’s the message I left for her a few days later:
This is George W. Bush, President of the United States. I just got off the phone with your dad. I called him for some legal advice, and after talking to him I decided to call and tell you how brilliant he is and how lucky you are to have him as your father. He’s the type of father any girl would die for. Next time you see him you should tell him how fortunate you are to be his daughter. And while you’re at it, tell him I really appreciate the great legal advice he gave me.
It’s been 4 years now since I left my series of messages. Mary still has the same Zac Efron message on her voicemail. Zac hasn’t called her once in 4 years. When is she going to get over that guy? (Just between you and me, he’s nothing but a little squirrel.)
Last month, my daughter Christine (16 years old) and one of her friends went to see Justin Bieber’s new movie, Never Say Never. If you’re not familiar with Justin Bieber, he’s a 16 year old singer, songwriter, and actor. He’s so popular with teenagers that his music video “Baby” is currently ranked as the most viewed video on YouTube. He’s the first artist ever to score seven songs at the same time from a debut album on the Billboard Hot 100.
When Christine got home from the movie, she walked over to the computer, logged onto Facebook, and typed the name “Christine Bieber” on her status page. Upon hearing about her new-found love, my first thought was: “What do these girls see in those little squirrels?”
The event that prompted me to think about Mary and Christine’s infatuation with the two celebrity boys was the death of Elizabeth Taylor. Following her death, there were headlines splashed all over the newspapers, magazines, and Internet. One headline boldly proclaimed that she was “The Last Movie Star.” At first I was completely baffled by all of the attention that was being given to her death. To me, she was just another has-been, severely dysfunctional, movie star who struggled with alcoholism and a long term addiction to pain medications. Besides being a movie star, her claim to fame was that she was “married” 8 times (to 7 different men). She dumped her last husband in 1996.
After my initial surprise at all of the attention the media was giving to her death, I started thinking. In her prime, Elizabeth Taylor had millions of fans who were infatuated with her the same way millions of fans are infatuated with those two little squirrels – Zac Efron and Justin Bieber. If you’re my age (53) or older, I’m sure you remember the thousands of young girls who couldn’t stop screaming when they came within 500 yards of Elvis or the Beatles.
I wonder what my daughter Mary would do if she did get a telephone call from Zac. How would Christine react if Justin asked her to be his “friend” on Facebook, and then called her on the telephone to talk?
Or better yet, what if Zac called Mary and told her he was going to be passing through town and wanted to stop by and visit with her for an hour? Do you think she would take the time to get dressed up and put on some makeup before he came to see her?
How about you? What if the one person you would love to hear from the most (an old friend, a celebrity, a leader you admire) called you on the telephone? Would you drop everything you were doing and take the time to talk? Or better yet, what if you could choose one person to bring back from the dead to spend an hour with? Who would you choose? What would you say during your time together?
A little over 2000 years ago, out of frustration, Jesus Christ asked Peter and some of His hand-picked disciples, “Could you not watch one hour with me?” Matthew 26:40; Mark 14:37. He continues to ask that same question of you and me every single day.
We have a new adoration chapel where Jesus is present – body, blood, soul and divinity – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He calls out to you every day to watch one hour with Him. If you’re signed up for a weekly holy hour, you’ve already answered His call. If you’re not signed up to visit with him at the same time every week for an hour, you have ignored His call. How long will you ignore Him?
You would answer a call from your favorite celebrity or a loved one who was able to come back from the dead to visit, wouldn’t you? Are you willing to answer His call? If you don’t answer, He may choose not to listen when your soul calls out to Him as it passes from this world into eternity.
Your time may almost be up. Can you hear Him calling?