Recently, I finished reading Donald Miller's new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I'm still living into the simplicity of the book. I think we have a tendency to make life much more complicated as we look to things outside of us to make life better. For example, If we can buy the new car, enter into the next fitness program, find a better job, or receive a raise in our current one, then life will be what we dreamed it would be. And our churches are no different. We are always looking for the next best thing to draw more people and raise more money!
What if the answer does not rest outside of us? What if what we need is a great story for our lives? This is the gist of Miller's new book. He makes the connection between a good story and a good movie. He writes that no one cries at the end of a movie if the plot line is about a guy who wants and buys a new Volvo! He reminds me that a good story is about a character who wants to do something with his or her life and is willing to sacrifice everything to realize the dream. The key is that what the person wants is to make life better for someone else, not just to enrich his or her own life. And this journey always leads to the main character's transformation.
I've been thinking about my own life story and the the redemptive story of scripture. And I'm wondering if we lived more completely into the stories of our lives and the story of scripture, would we have as hard a time sharing the good news? Maybe, just maybe, we are living into the stories that are not ours and we're trying to add the gospel to lives that are not living into God's story of good news for us and the world.
If we examine the story of scripture, we experience God creating a good world filled with promise and meaning. In God's story our purpose is to love God, others, and care for creation. However, we were created with the awesome freedom to do our own thing. And that's what we decided to do. As a result, there's been all kinds of brokenness along the way. However, God is not content to leave us in our brokenness. God sacrifices everything to bring us back and to restore creation though the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As we live into this story by the Holy Spirit's power, our hearts begin to break over the things that break God's heart. We begin to see our purpose as joining God in God's rescue plan for creation.
We are called to serve our families, friends and people with whom we work. We serve through our churches. But we also discover the rest of our kingdom purpose: the one thing we've been called to do and be. For Donald Miller, this purpose was to start a mentoring initiative for boys growing up without fathers. His own heart breaks for these boys because he too grew up without a father.
When we're living into our life's purpose and our identity comes from God's mission, we find our true selves. When we are on the journey of reclaiming our lives, we realize that it is very natural to share the good news of God who finds us when we are lost and gives us sight when we cannot see the way.