Monday, July 02, 2012

The Story Of The Bible Is Not About Us

Photo Credit: Travis Seitler
The Bible is not about us. The Bible tells the story of a loving, merciful and just God who is always at work rescuing lost people and redeeming them for His glory. Yes, we all play a role in God's overarching story but we are not the hero of the story. Jesus is.

The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, does a tremendous job of illustrating the point that God's story is about God and we humans are simply part of that story. Though written primarily for children, this book can be appreciated by adults as Lloyd-Jones helps the Scriptures come alive while telling the consistent story of the Holy Scriptures, with Jesus at the center.

Sally Lloyd-Jones offers her perspective on the Desiring God blog:
"One Sunday, not long ago, I was reading the story of Daniel and the Scary Sleepover from The Jesus Storybook Bible to some 6 year olds during a Sunday school lesson. One little girl in particular was sitting so close to me she was almost in my lap. Her face was bright and eager as she listened to the story, utterly captivated. She could hardly keep on the ground and kept kneeling up to get closer to the story.
At the end of the story there were no other teachers around and I panicked and went into automatic pilot and heard myself — to my horror — asking, “And so what can we learn from Daniel about how God wants us to live?”
And as I said those words it was as if I had literally laid a huge load on that little girl. Like I broke some spell. She crumpled right in front of me, physically slumping and bowing her head. I will never forget it.
It is a picture of what happens to a child when we turn a story into a moral lesson.
When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn’t mainly about us, and what we are supposed to be doing — it’s about God, and what he has done!
When we tie up the story in a nice neat, little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God.
When we say, “Now what that story is all about is…”, or “The point of that story is…” we are in fact totally missing the point. The power of the story isn’t in summing it up, or drilling it down, or reducing it into an abstract idea.
Because the power of the story isn’t in the lesson. The power of the story is the story.
And that’s why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn’t:
That the Bible isn’t mainly about me, and what I should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
That the Bible is most of all a story — the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
That — in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost him — God won’t ever stop loving his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.
That the Bible, in short, is a Story — not a Rule Book — and there is only one Hero in the Story.
I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible so children could meet the Hero in its pages. And become part of his Magnificent Story.
Because rules don’t change you. But a Story — God’s Story — can."
While it is good and necessary for us to seek to apply what we learn from the Scriptures to our lives, it can be easy for us to miss the point of God's bigger story when we only look at what applies to us. God's story is bigger than any one of us but He does invite to play a role. Have you discovered your role in God's story?


Gary Harbaugh said...

Awesome lesson! Profound in it's simplicity and easy to forget especially if you are involved in teaching.

scottmcrocker said...

Very true, Gary. I winced a couple times reading this article as I recalled the many times that I have done this very thing.