Everybody is into “stories” these days.
Every political candidate pulls out the obligatory “It reminds me of Bessie Thomas, whom I met in Sioux City…” story for the stump speech.
Organizations actively solicit stories from their members, making sure to prod them to “be sure to specifically mention how you’ve benefited from the work of our wonderful organization.”
Churches and non-profits–desperately seeking new volunteers–encourage existing and nearly burnt-out volunteers to “tell their stories”, trusting that this tactic will encourage new people to click the link at the bottom of the article to “sign up today”.
Is this the purpose or the limit of the sharing of our stories…a marketing and promotional tool?
It reminds me of that great scene from “A Christmas Story”, when Ralphie finally gets his long-awaited Little Orphan Annie decoder and gets to decipher his first top-secret message from Annie. Ralphie’s heart is crushed to learn the decoder is just “a crummy commercial”, and he emerges “to face the world again, wiser.” You can see that scene on YouTube by clicking here…
When it comes to the power of our stories, are we settling for, and being jaded by, a cheap imitation of the real thing? Is there power in the sharing of our stories of what God is doing in our lives and in our world in a way that is not tied to trying to sell, promote or market anything?
I believe there is. I believe there is an almost totally untapped blessing God has for us through the authentic sharing of our stories. The purpose? Nothing more and nothing less than to share our stories, believing that something transformational in our lives will take place through the sharing and hearing of those stories.
The big question is, how do we best do that without it becoming or being perceived as a crummy commercial? I’d love to know your thoughts…