What is it about telling stories?
We’ve all probably turned to someone and said, “This will be a good story to tell”, or if a scenerio was somewhat unpleasant, “At least we’ll have a good story to tell.” Some of us probably do things purely for story’s sake. I was reminded of this while I was in Europe last summer. I had so many surreal experiences visiting historic cathedrals and castles, gazing out over gorgeous landscapes, and riding all types of transportation in some of the most famous cities in the world. The experiences themselves were incredible, but somehow telling the stories of my travels over and over again was as rewarding as living them in the moment.
We live for those life-changing experiences and memories, and then live out of them.
On a different level, this seems to even be true with movies. My dad doesn’t care for Elf, but when my brother and I quote all the lines, he dies laughing. It just seems that it’s better to quote a comedy than actually watch it. Why? Because we are sharing the story of the movie through our personalities and how we see it, and that is contagious.
Whether it’s as trivial as a comedy flick, or adventurous as a Europe trip, really good experiences don’t just come and go – they affect us in such a way that they become part of who we are. They are truly unforgettable.
This is what Jesus has for us and what he commands of us. The disciples were trying to figure out what Jesus was talking about when he kept saying he was going to die. Then, when God raised him from the grave on the third day, they were surprised and shocked to see their Lord walking around with scars on his hands and feet, and probably couldn’t believe it in the moment. I imagine everyone pinching themselves and wondering aloud if they were dreaming. Then Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” It ended up being the greatest story ever told that changed the course of history.
In a lot of cases, telling the story is even more rewarding than living it, but you have to live your story to be able to tell it. God wants us to tell stories, but you have to be living those stories in order to tell them.
Maybe you don’t have plans to go on any crazy adventures traveling around the world. Those kind of experiences aren’t the most important, anyway. What stories can you live this week? Who can you pray for in your community or who can you encourage or invest in? Is there a need you can provide for? How can you sacrifice part of your hectic American schedule to make time to spend in the presence of God?
Continually sit with God, pray, and read your Bible so you can tell others about him without even thinking twice about it. Who knows what God will do through you, right where you are. Live the story of the gospel, so you can tell it over and over. That’s the best story ever told, and God intended it to be told through us.
“As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:20