The last paragraph of the Gospel of John ends, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25). This passage makes me think about you and your story. You have a story — an amazing story of God’s grace and goodness. Have you ever written it down? Have you taken the time to start at the beginning and chronicle the events and miracle moments of your life?
Oh, I’m not saying you should do it for publication — but for your own sake. Yes, you face many challenges, but if you would make the time to “write your story,” I think you would find that it would be filled with many more good times than bad.
How do you begin? Just start writing things down, beginning today. That’s what I did.
For instance, talk about your childhood and those who influenced you. You will find angels in that chapter.
How did you meet your spouse? Who you are and what you accomplish can often be traced to that moment.
How did you enter into the ministry? What brought about that call? Did it happen suddenly in a service or at camp, or was it through a series of unmistakable divine interventions in your life?
What about the challenges, both personal and professional? We have all faced both sorrow and happiness. Each one of us has known failure, but we have also experienced victory. What about the miracles of God’s grace that have caused you to shake your head and say, “He really does care about me.” Write it down — let other people read it. Use it as a testimony.
Consider this. You have probably gone through situations that caused you pain, but you made it and now you are on the other side. How you dealt with those circumstances might be helpful to you when you are faced with a similar reality. You have likely gained wisdom by the ways you have handled or mishandled successful times, as well. All of these experiences may also help someone else, perhaps another pastor.
I would imagine you’ve learned several hard lessons as a parent and spouse — and maybe you (and we all) could benefit from what you went through. Your diary or journal would contain remembrances of good times and bad, successes and failures. You would be reminded of times when you were a good mom or dad and when you made some mistakes.
You would come face to face again with ministry issues that changed your life. For instance: “Today, I made a decision to move on. I will assume the leadership of a new congregation. My wife and family are thrilled. I feel I should have had a better chance to turn things around here.”
Or . . . “My son needed me today, but I had pastoral duties that would not allow me the time to be the dad I wanted to be. I hope he will understand.”
Or . . . “I’m sad today. The baby we had been praying for died. I was there with the family, but I didn’t have answers. I could only say, ‘God loves you now more than ever.’ They seemed to appreciate my concern and prayers.”
Or . . . “I was at lunch today with a man in our community. As we talked, I could see he was hungry for a new life. I led him to Jesus Christ. It was awesome. What a day!”
Or . . . “Sunday came too quickly this week. I didn’t have time to prepare well — but God helped me. Some said it was the best sermon I have ever delivered. I think it’s because I had to trust Him more.”
Our stories should be told if for no one else but our families. Think of the blessings you would experience if you had such a book from your parents, other relatives, or significant people in your life. Please consider doing this. You, my colleague, have a story — tell it!
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11).
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced” (Psalm 105:4-5).