“For people who don’t even know there is a story, Jesus, patiently and without raising his voice, tells story after story after story. Stories that get us into The Story.” -Eugene Peterson
My children love to hang around my wife and me right now. It’s as if they don’t want to miss out on something grander, something greater, and something that’s none of their business. Almost every day I have to shoo my sons away as they try to eavesdrop on conversations that my wife and I are having about things.
Halloween is only a few days away and I always think about the stories I heard as a kid around this time of year. Ichabod Crane & Sleepy Hollow, The Great Pumpkin, and for some reason Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all come to mind when I get lost in all the scary and wonder-filled stories of my youth.
What is it about human nature that just wants to belong in a story? We wake up everyday to a world that is full of stories not ours and yet we enter into many of these stories without realizing that there is a greater story being told. Somehow, we get so lost in our own stories that we fail to see the bigger picture.
This morning I want you to gather around and listen to a few things about God’s Great story that I think will make you wonder about your own. Let’s begin.
1.The Great Story is DISRUPTIVE. Jesus, who I believe to be God in the flesh, made a statement to this effect that a lot of people have a hard time accepting. He said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth, I have not come to bring peace, but a sword..” (Matthew 10:34) This coming from the Prince of Peace. What was He talking about? Jesus’ words come as a swift warning that His presence in this world is disruptive. While the peace He came to bring is between us and God, His coming to earth was not accepted by all men, because human beings are arrogant, selfish, and set in their own ways. But God, in sending Jesus, reminded the world that His story was the one that matters most and that it would disrupt the very fabric or our closest relationships.
2. The Great Story is REAL. We think that everything we see around us the only reality there is. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe the very existence of fairy tales and fantastic stories is proof that there is something that lives within the human heart as an echo of a greater Story, a deeper reality that we all know to be true, and even wish for. Jesus was a real human being. Those places in the Bible are real geographic locations. You can go there, touch the history, and see the faces of the descendants of the people in the stories that you read. This is real and it is happening, whether you accept it or not.
3. The Great Story is about a KINGDOM. All throughout the story of God (which is the Bible) there is a theme of covenant and kingdom, relationship and responsibility, a call to become and a call to act. God is inviting us up into this Kingdom that He is advancing through the means of what is called the “Gospel” or “Good News”. Jesus came first calling people to turn away from their own sin and self and then to turn to this impending Kingdom. His proof that this was real was his ability to heal the sick, raise the dead, make the lame walk, open the eyes of the blind, forgive the sinner, and call the religious ones to account for their self-righteousness. The good news was that God is no longer silent or distant, but He is speaking and He is near, closer than anyone realizes. The great news is that the same kinds of things Jesus did are available to us to do for others as well.
4. The Great Story is PERSONAL. My last thought about the story of God is that somehow, in the cosmic greatness and large-ness of His story, your story comes in to play. Though you may not think your story matters, I want to suggest that yours is an integral part of the story. You are standing on the precipice of a story that can be ignited as a torch pointing all the stories around you to the greatest story every told.
Have I piqued your interest this morning by offering you a new story by which to judge your life?
What a tragedy it would be to get to the end of your life and realize that all the good work you were doing, all the good you thought you were creating did not count because it wasn’t good that you did under the telling of the Story of God.
You see, it’s possible to be good, to do good, and to create something good apart from God. But it is only when your life is submitted to the Great Story that any of the good you do counts.
That’s something to think about.