Watch this video . . .
And apply that to my recent blogpost about structuring for maximum edification. Every person has a story to tell, indeed. If Chick-fil-a is willing to read them for the asking of a chicken sandwich, are not willing to take the time to read them for the sake of their souls?
A church unwilling to read and address the stories of people will be satisfied with skimming the surface with conversations that probe no deeper than a “Hey, how are you doing?” which almost always is met with a disingenuous response. No gifts of the Spirit are exercised because no one is listening.
Now, imagine if we took just one of those stories, one of those individuals and placed them in a context where every member listened, understood the story, and felt personally responsible to play a redemptive part in contributing through the spiritual gift entrusted to them by the Holy Spirit? What role would an exhorter play? A giver? An agent of mercy? A leader? Someone with wisdom? Someone with great faith? And so on?
Paul Tripp nailed it when he said that we are all called to be instruments in the Redeemer’s hands because we are helping others change while at the same time we ourselves are in need of change. Every person you meet is a mess needing someone willing to get messy. Every person is a sinner needing someone to help them walk in repentance and faith, growing in the gospel, extending mercy and forgiveness to other sinners. And the Holy Spirit animates the life of the church by His work in and through Christians sovereignly gifted to do good to one another and so edify the church.
Next time you see people, consider why their lives (the subtext) might be really saying. Everything in us militates against listening and engaging–our comfort zones, our busy schedules, fear of man, selfishness, etc. Yet, we have in us the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead giving life to our mortal bodies. He intends to do in us what no strength of the flesh can accomplish. I pray the stories of people we encounter will be rewritten by the gospel of Jesus as it is applied to their hearts and transforms their lives.