Every story matters

by Dennis McMains, Director of Leadership Development, Europe
Dennis McMains

As I stepped off the plane in Warsaw, Poland, God once again gave me a shot of adrenaline for what was ahead on this ministry trip. Immediately, as I walked through the airport, I saw face after face after face, making eye contact with strangers and passing pleasantries and smiles to whomever had the confidence to look my way. With every one of these gestures I thought, what is their story? How has God lived in their life? Impacted their life? Fought for their attention? I am always reminded that: 

Every person has a name.

Every person has a story.

Every story matters to God.

Some stories will bring great hope and encouragement, while others will bring hurt and heartache. But all of these stories matter to God. And so I am encouraged to present a presence that is inviting and approachable because I want to hear their stories. I want to listen and truly hear these stories because not only do the stories matter to God, they also matter to the people telling them.

In Acts 26, Paul stands before King Agrippa, who tells Paul to give a defense for his actions of proclaiming the gospel. Rather than defend his actions, Paul shares his story. Knowing King Agrippa’s story, Paul uses this opportunity to share his God story with not only the King, but also with all those in attendance.

We need to be aware of those around us, realizing that every person we come into contact with has a story and those stories matter. Even more so, that person matters! He/she matters to me, to us and to God. How many times do we ask someone “How are you?” and really don’t care how he or she is truly doing? It has just become as nonchalant as saying hello. Do we show value to that person by making eye contact and taking the time for a truthful answer? Does that person matter to you? Does the fact that this person needs Jesus matter to you? A pastor I highly respect once said, “When I look at someone, I look beyond his or her physical appearance and I try to see into his or her soul.” That person will spend eternity somewhere – and I want that “somewhere” to be heaven!

There is a story about Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S president, which brings this point home. During his presidency, Jefferson and a group of companions were traveling across country on horseback. They came to a swollen river that had washed the bridge away. The riders were forced to ford the river on horseback, fighting for their lives against the rapid current. After several had plunged in and made it to the other side, a stranger walked up to Jefferson and asked if he would ferry him across the river. Without hesitation, Jefferson agreed. The man climbed on and they forded the river and made it safely to the other side. As the stranger slid off the back of the saddle, one in the group asked him, “Tell me, why did you select the president to ask this favor of?” The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea it was the president who had helped him. “All I know,” he said, “Is that on some of your faces was written the answer ‘No,’ and on some of them was the answer ‘yes.’ His was a ‘Yes’ face.” 

Do you have a “yes” face? Are people drawn to you to share their story so that you may share the story of the One who can offer forgiveness and eternal life with their heavenly Father?

Here is my challenge; here is my charge to everyone who comes in front of the story: If the story matters to God, then it should matter to us. Because God will use the story in some way to further his kingdom. So be ready! Show people their story matters, because it does. The next time you get off a plane, step off a train, get out of a car, step off a boat or walk up to a crowd of people, ask yourself this question: I wonder what their stories are? And be ready to listen, be ready to share and always remember… 

Every person has a name.

Every person has a story.

Every story matters to God.

Interested in missions? Learn more here.

Dennis McMains is Converge's Director of Leadership Development for our workers in Europe. 

    Point - September 2018

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