In Barcelona, there’s a world-famous cathedral called La Sagrada Família. You’ve probably seen pictures of it. What’s astounding about La Sagrada Família is that it’s been under construction for over 130 years! It was designed by Antoni Gaudí in the 1880s and has been under construction ever since.
Here’s a question: how do people work for decades, sometimes centuries, on a single project? What’s the secret? Whether it’s a huge building or something else, how do you not lose heart when you’re part of an ultra long-term project like that?
I suspect stories play a key role here. If you know you’re part of an exciting story (like building a huge and beautiful cathedral), then it’s easy to wake up and feel excited about what you’re doing — even when time drags on and your day’s work seems monotonous or insignificant.
Stories are powerful. Think of some of the famous causes we like to rally around: ending racial injustice. Becoming debt-free. Saving the environment. Becoming a multi-planetary species. These are all stories that excite us.
Can you think of a story or narrative that resonates with you?
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18
We all instinctively want to be a part of a bigger narrative — a vision for the future that gives today importance and meaning. Stories give us a sense of direction, something to look forward to. That’s why they’re so captivating.
We all want to be a part of a bigger narrative — a vision for the future that gives today meaning
Of course, the Bible contains hundreds of stories, but what’s interesting is there does seem to be a huge overarching story that runs through it — and you and I are invited to play a key role in it.
Here’s how N.T. Wright puts it: “The authority of God, through the whole scripture, points to the renewal of creation through Jesus Christ as the key theme of the whole story” (Scripture and the Authority of God, p. 194).
In other words, all of creation, all of history, is a story of redemption. Think of that! All of the past, all of the future, ultimately circles around God redeeming all things to Himself.
And here’s what’s exciting: the story is still going on. It’s not over! Just like Sagrada Família, it’s still in progress. Unfinished.
“In Scripture itself, God’s purpose is not just to save human beings, but to renew the whole world. This is the unfinished story in which readers of scripture are invited to become actors in their own right” (p. 27).
It’s tempting to look at the Bible as a summary of cool things that happened in the past. But that’s simply not the point at all. The same redemptive, restorative, reconciling work of God that we read about in Scripture is still underway right here, right now.
Jesus didn’t call us to merely be spectators or students of this story, but actors. Participants. Kingdom-bringers!
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says: “Through Christ God reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us…”
Notice how Peter puts it: “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn (2 Peter 3:11-12)!
We’re heading toward the final scene of this story, the final restoration, and you and I are commanded to hasten that day, to spread the kingdom around us. If that’s not a story that gets us excited, I’m not sure what will!
This entire world is part of an incredible, unfinished story. And we’re not meant to be spectators
My friends, I don’t think it’s an accident that we resonate with stories. God created us that way because this entire world is part of an incredible, unfinished, continuing story. It’s an incomplete project, a half-developed building, so to speak.
And again, crucially, we’re not supposed to be spectators, but participants.
You’re part of the grandest, most beautiful story of all. Let that sink in. Let that challenge and encourage you today. Let that infuse your day with purpose and meaning.
It’s time to put on our hard hats, to get in the game and get to work!
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