The Importance of Your Story

Pastor Mitch McDonald, Sun Lakes Community Church

We don’t seem to talk much about the idea of oral history these days. Historians tell us that oral history is the most reliable way of preserving first-hand information. This week two wonderful saints went home to be with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: Phyllis, a 101-year-old saint, and Arlo, who was 99. That is 200 years of life experiences and stories. I loved sitting and listening to both of them tell stories about their journey. Arlo spoke of flying in World War II. Phyllis told about raising chickens at what she called the edge of town, which is now Downtown Phoenix.

It seems we just don’t tell stories like we used to. Maybe we’re too busy, maybe we feel others are too busy, or maybe we think no one would listen in the first place. But they will, and we need to tell our stories. Throughout Scripture we read about the men and women of the Bible who passed their stories on. As they spoke and passed down the stories of the first-hand work of God in their lives and the lives of those around them, those stories and God’s divine inspiration led to our being able to read about them in the Bible today. They are not alone. God has given us stories to share as well.

We’re attempting to re-engage with the art and discipline of oral history in my family. This month is filled with family birthdays, from a child who just turned one, all the way to a grandpa who turned 78, and multiple others in between. There is lots to celebrate, but lots to listen to as well. This Sunday at our house, we’re celebrating Sunday Soup and Stories. A couple of really big pots of soup and some key questions just to allow those who are celebrating to tell a portion of their story. Maybe stories that we’ve heard before or maybe stories that we’ve never heard about.

We all love a good story, and never forget that you are a part of God’s story, and He is still writing your story today. Every story has certain elements: characters (you and the people God has placed in your life), setting (the when and where God has placed you), a plot (what He has done in your life), conflict (a key part of every story that God walks us through), and resolution (how God saw you through those conflicts). Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God is continuing to write and fulfill your story. Messy? Maybe, but the best part about it is that He is never done writing. So, we should never stop telling our story of redemption, grace, and salvation.