Think about your Favorite Actor

I would venture a guess that most people reading this enjoy a good film. Think about your favorite actor or actress.  No matter the film, if your favorite actor is in it, you are going to go see their movie. They are the main character, the hero of the movie.

Got ‘em pictured in your head? Great! Hold that thought…

I just recently finished a great book by Jefferson Bethke called It’s Not What You Think, and I enjoyed a comparison he makes. For our purposes, I’m going to tweak it a little and/or paraphrase.

YOU are Part of the Story

Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard but part of my profession is noticing things–little details that most don’t notice or care about. So, as is the case in films, I appreciate the intentional details that directors put in to draw you into the story.  From the intense and dramatic musical score, the costuming, the location or set, the extras in the background–they all make up a part of the story.  So, as you sit there with your popcorn and coke, they help make the story come alive. All of a sudden, you are entangled: YOU are a part of the story being told.

Let’s go back to your favorite actor.  Let’s assume we are halfway through the movie and the camera begins to focus in on him.  It’s that linchpin moment in the film where you know, “Oh, this is going to get good!”  Even with background noise and people walking by in the scene, you’re still focused on the main character.

Now imagine, as Bethke explains, that in the middle of this huge story moment, all of a sudden one of the extras in the background is waving at the camera and jumping up and down, as if to silently exclaim, “Hey! Look at me!! I’m in this too! See me?? Over here!”   As a part of the audience, being sucked into the movie quickly turns into, “Who the heck is that guy?!! What is he doing? Hello?  This isn’t about you–it’s about this guy…GET OUT OF THE WAY!”

Talk about a distraction!

Clearly, that is not going to make the final cut in editing the film, but sometimes, (probably a lot of times) I’m guilty of being my own distraction in God’s story. This is His story. He is the reason why I get sucked into the story–the greatest Story ever told!

One of my favorite things I’m learning about God is that he, too, is intentional with the details in our lives. They make up a part of who we are, but they aren’t the focus, or at least they shouldn’t be. There’s a bigger picture, a more major Character in this Story, and if we focus too much on the distracting extras in our own lives, we miss the point of the Story.  We miss the moments of, “This is going to get good!”

Not the Focus, but a Part of God’s Story

While the focus of the Story isn’t us, God does invite us to be a part of it! Our part of his Story of love and redemption matters.  If we’ve let his love and redemption change our lives the way we say it has, then other people need to know that!  Telling your story of grace, mercy, and forgiveness because of Jesus and what he did on the cross matters. And, it’s an honor to be a part of the greatest Story ever told!

I’m a big fan of the Psalms.  If I’m having a bad day or I just need some re-focusing moments, Psalms is my go-to book.

Psalm 66 says:

Shout joyful praises to God all the earth.  Sing about the glory of his name.  Tell the world how glorious he is! Say to God, how awesome are your deeds!  Everything on earth will worship you and they will sing your praises shouting your name in glorious songs! Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me!  (vs 1-4, 16)

He IS worthy of our praise, and all glory belongs to him, so tell people about it!  Yes, there are effective and non-effective ways to go about doing that, and how we live our life either points to him or becomes a distraction from him. Be intentional about how you live your life in front of others.  I encourage you to not be “that guy” in the background but rather let people see the main Character in our lives so that they want to come back, again and again, telling of the great things he has done!

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