Risk is essential if we are going to call ourselves Christians. In Psalm 127:4-5, God describes our children as “arrows” in our quiver. That means we’ve gotta be willing to send our children (and ourselves since we are God’s children – the arrows in His quiver.) out of the safety/comfort zones and into enemy territory to take ground for the Kingdom of God. Sometimes the greater risk is to risk nothing at all. Only in risk do we discover how great our own need for Jesus is and realize His power and love for us.
That was the tag line for a video series I just watched by Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz) called “Let Story Guide You – Life is a Story. Make Yours Count.”
It really resonated with me.
Using Biblical examples, Donald Miller describes the power of story for teaching and influencing others.
He suggests that most American Christians have been allowing others to write the stories that they live in and encourages them to write our own stories.
Every good story has four elements –
1. A good protagonist/hero/lead character,
2. a risky mission/worthy objective,
3. a conflict,
4. and a resolution.
After watching, I wondered if most of us have been so concerned about protecting our families from the conflict that we have forfeited our mission and purpose? The problem is that if we don’t have a good mission/purpose, then our story is not one that most people would want to watch – it’s a boring story if the mission isn’t important enough to require sacrifice and effort. Miller relates it to watching a movie about a guy who is trying to buy a Volvo – not a very worthy mission.
He goes on to describe a friend who had a troubled daughter. She was involved in drugs and had a boyfriend that her father did not approve of. After a long talk, his friend (the girl’s father) realized that there were two stories being offered to his daughter. She could live in the exciting, on the edge story with her boyfriend where she felt loved and accepted, or she could live in the story she was finding at home where things were sort of boring and she was ignored by her parents who seemed to be fighting all the time. Once he came to this realization, he decided to write a better story for his family. At a family meeting, he announced that together they would raise money for a $20,000 orphanage in Mexico. Conflict ensued since he hadn’t warned his wife. With the new story being offered, his daughter was intrigued enough to start searching for ways to raise money on-line. Within two weeks, she had broken things off with the boyfriend and was focusing her attention on getting outside of herself to raise money and serve that little village.
I wonder if this is why men hate church so much. I mean. . .think about the story offered to men by the church. It’s a story where the heros are the little old men who have been “faithful” to the church by sitting in their pews for 40 years. Where’s the adventure? Passion? Like most families, the church has been so concerned with protecting itself, that it has lost it’s purpose, it’s mission. What if the church was everything God had called it to be? A place where people are willing to sacrifice everything to take the Gospel to a hurting and dying world. Now that’s passion. That’s a story that men want to be a part of. That’s a story worth dying for.
What story will be told by your life? Will you live in God’s story or allow the world to write it for you? Is your life story a page-turner? Are you a strong protagonist/hero? Is your mission/purpose worthy of dying for? Is there sufficient conflict to make a great story? (Jesus says, we will be persecuted if we follow Him, so we should have conflict.) Are you hanging on to the promise of Scripture for resolution?