When I hear those six words, I’m ready. I’m invested. I want to see where things will go. All because of the promise of a story.
Why do we tell stories? One reason we tell them is to bring the people around us into our life and experience. We tell stories to let them see what we see, and feel what we feel from a firsthand perspective. Because if they can do that, if they can experience what we’ve experienced by means of a story, then they will come to know us that much better. And we will feel less alone.
What this means is that listening to someone’s story is a gift. It is a statement that the person who is telling you their story actually matters, that they are worth listening to, that who they are and what they’ve experienced is worth your attention.
Every day at PCC, our counsellors are giving this gift. They are giving this gift because they understand its life-giving power.
But there’s a flip-side to this gift, and here’s what it is: In the very listening to a story, the listener himself is being given something. He is being given the chance to be drawn out of himself, to see things that otherwise, he might never have seen. He is lifted out of his finite experience and given a view to something bigger.
Which is where the gospel comes in, because the gospel is, in essence, God telling us His story. And when we listen to that, when we open ourselves to that, we are lifted into the vast goodness of His holy heart. This is why the apostle Paul tells us that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
Being a pastor and writer, my life’s work is to be telling God’s story. And I’m always on the lookout for others who are not only listening to those around them, but are in some sense giving them God’s story, Jesus’ story, as a gift in return. That two-sided gift of listening and telling is the beating heart of this organization, and the reason I’m here.
by Daren Redekopp