After a recent worship service I attended, I heard someone say, "I felt as though God was talking more directly to me today than ever before." This sounds like God at Work to me, but it is not my story to tell. In another conversation this week, someone was describing to me how a myriad of seemingly unrelated details all suddenly came together for a significant change in a person's life. I don't think the story is completed yet, but even then, it will not be my story to tell. Day after day I am privileged to hear fascinating stories of God in Christ Jesus at work in the lives of people, but most of the time they are not my stories to tell.
This morning I read an article on "The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die." While I found it to be an interesting read, I was disappointed to find the most meaningful statement to be a rather bland, "The best way to die with very few regrets is to live life as if we would die today." I find greater truth and wisdom is some words from our God through Saint Paul: "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell." (Philippians 1.21-22). In other words, my life is not MY story … It is Christ's.
And talk about a story … a life . . . that is regret free - that would be the life of Christ … and that IS my story to tell.
Paul then continues his description of a life with the regrets removed by God's grace in Christ Jesus: "Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ … standing firm in one sprit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything." (Philippian 1.27-28) "Have the same mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant. … He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death." (Philippians 2.5-8)
The story worth telling . . . the life that was lived regret free . . . is the peace-filled, other-focused life of Christ. "He died for all' (1 Corinthians 5.15) "for the joy set before him" (Hebrews 12.2) That joy was found not by compromising himself or his values, but by fully giving all of himself … his gifts, his love, his life … for the betterment of others … that we might be given his regret free life … "that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." (2 Corinthians 5.15)
Thus, it is not my story that needs telling, but the story of Christ and his life-redeeming, eternity-changing love for all. And yet, in a mysterious way, that is my story … and yours, too. And, thanks be to God, it is a story that is lived in freedom and joy … and with all regrets wiped away … a life that truly understands that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
My friends, that is my story, and I'm sticking to it.