by Steven Norris
This month at Ecclesia, we have been looking at call stories from the Bible and what they might say to us about our unique calling and vocation. After delving into the story of Moses from Exodus 3-4 this week, I got to thinking about one of the excuses Moses gave to God about why he couldn’t/wouldn’t follow God’s call.
Under the excuse, “What if they don’t believe me,” I suggested that many of us suffer from a condition I like to call “testimony envy.” We may not have the kind of life story that keeps people on the edge of their seat, riveted, hanging on our every word. We may not be the drug dealer turned pastor; murderer turned peace activist; terrorist turned evangelist; homeless person turned businessman; and so on. We hesitate to tell our story because it seems . . . well . . . so . . . boring.
Maybe we grew up in a Christian home, had good parents, went to church whenever the doors were open, and can’t remember a time that we didn’t love Jesus. Why would anyone care to hear about that story?
I remember a friend in seminary that had one of those gripping stories. He had traveled all around the country telling his story to teenagers and churches that wanted to hear more and more. I remember him telling a group of us one day, “I wish I had a story like yours. I wish mine was boring. I wish I hadn’t gone through the things I did and hurt the people I hurt. I don’t want this story, but it’s what happened to me so I’m stuck with it.”
There’s something more, though. The reality is that, regardless of the specific details, all of our stories are caught up in a bigger story. Who I am really doesn’t matter. Who you are doesn’t really matter all that much. What matters is that there is a story that was spoken into existence at the beginning of time. This story has been flowing like a stream throughout time and space. It will flow on until that day that it pours life-giving water from the heart of the city of God.
It is a story of a God who creates masterpieces by a mere word uttered. It is the story of a love so grand that God would go to any lengths to express it. It is a story about a promise so faithful that nothing can get in its way. It is a story about a family so open that all are welcomed, a table so big that all have a seat, an embrace so wide that everyone can feel the warmth of God’s affection.
Our story has power and credibility, not because of any merit it possesses on its own, but because our story has been caught up in THE Story. The richness of the current that finds its source in Eden is the same one that nourishes and animates our life. The spring that quenches our daily thirst is the same spring that bubbled up from the ground at the dawning of time.
We need not have “testimony envy” because all of our stories are part of a much larger story that God is telling and we have the privilege of letting it flow right through the center of our lives. We don’t have any control over where it came from or where it is going. We only have the privilege of getting caught up in the flow and being carried along for the ride. I don’t about you, but for me, that sure takes the pressure off.
originally posted on www.stevennorris.com