If you are a regular reader of the Good News in South Florida you are probably familiar with The Greatest Story Ever Told. If you are not, let me encourage you to read through the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Greatest Story Ever Told is the divine revelation of Jesus Christ set forth in sacred Scripture from His arrival as a baby in a manger to His ascension back into heaven as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In fact, back in 1965 a motion picture epic titled The Greatest Story Ever Told was brought to life on movie screens across America, retelling the life story of Jesus from the Nativity through to the Resurrection.
HIS BIRTH ~ Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Jesus came to you because you couldn’t go to Him. “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).
HIS LIFE ~ Jesus lived a sinless life marked by “doing good” everywhere He went for two reasons: God’s glory and our good, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38).
HIS DEATH ~ Jesus willingly went to the cross, nailing every one of our sins, past, present and those to come, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).
HIS RESURRECTION ~ Jesus provided life through death, when on the third day, He rose from the grave, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6).
HIS ASCENSION ~ Jesus ascended into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father, continually making intercession for all who have put their trust in Him. “While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven” (Luke 24:51).
He went from holding the universe in the palm of His hand, to allowing His palms to be nailed to a cross for you! He went from the continual angelic singing of “Holy, Holy, Holy” to the mob’s murderous cries of “Crucify Him” for you! He who knew no sin became sin only to be forsaken by His Father for you! Truly this is The Greatest Story Ever Told. So, what other story makes up the package of The Two Greatest Stories Ever Told?
YOURS that’s right YOURS! The first story is His the second story is yours!
The Second Greatest Story Ever Told is the story of your life, and it is to be a striking resemblance of His life marked by
SERVICE not STATUS
GIVING not GETTING
Because Jesus laid down His life for us, we are to lay our lives down for others even when we would rather not. There is a divine drama being written out on the canvas of your life right now by the hand of the Almighty, and you are the lead role.
The God who sought you, caught you and bought you with the precious blood of His Son has given you the gift of eternal life. Your gift back to God is how you live it out on this side of heaven. So, this Christmas season let me ask you this all-important question, “How are you living the life God has given you and what kind of story are you writing for His glory and the good of others?” Beyond the boxes and bows, tinsel and trees, cards and carols, lights and laughter, I want you to pause and reflect on how your story is playing out on the canvas of your life.
I don’t know where this finds you this Christmas season. You may be riding the crest of the waves of victory or buried under the waves of challenge. You may be standing on top of a mountain of miracles or aimlessly wandering in the valley of lost vision. Regardless of where this finds you right now, your life matters. Your story matters. If you have found yourself in a place where it does not seem to matter anymore to you, know this: It matters to more people than you know, and it matters most to Him.
Because of what God has done for you in Christ, your life matters now more than ever. The past is gone. The future on this side of the grave is promised to no one. All you have is right now!
When I was saved back in 1995, my first mentor Fred Gushue, would continually say to me especially when I was a little down or discouraged, “God has not brought you this far just to leave you here.” God has a perfect plan for your life, and He wants you to live it with purpose and passion. But make no mistake, God’s plan is perfect but your performance in living it out on this side of the grave will never be. Progress, not perfection, is the goal.
The Second Greatest Story Ever Told is about progress, not perfection. In our Discipleship Explosion Seminar, I ask the question, “Do you know why they make those first-grade desks so small?” So they won’t fit when we are adults. We all have to grow up into Christ. Living a life for the glory of God demands we make measurable progress in reasonable time. We all have to make progress in the direction that God is calling us to go. Why shouldn’t we? God never calls without giving the grace to live it out. God has given us all we need, to do all He has called us to do, for His glory.
Only when the truth of The Greatest Story Ever Told floods and fills your heart will we be able to live out The Second Greatest Story. When Jesus said it was finished on the cross on Golgotha’s hill, He was not only speaking about His sacrifice for our sins, but also His love for saints. The love that was born in the manger, lived a perfect life, died a horrific death, rose powerfully from the dead and ascended gloriously into heaven is completed in Christ. His love for you never changes even when you
He loves you!
Forget Him He loves you!
Forsake Him He loves you!
When you know at the deepest level there is nothing you can do to keep Jesus from loving you, then there is nothing you can’t do for Him. He alone is worthy of your adoration. He alone is worthy of your affection. He alone is worthy of your allegiance. He alone is worthy of your attention. He alone is worthy to write The Second Greatest Story Ever Told yours! Never forget that Amen!
Rev. Tommy Boland is the men’s minister and sports minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. He also teaches adult Sunday school. For more information, including Bible study resource materials, please e-mail [email protected] or [email protected]