I love the redemption story. In fact, I think it is the foundation of every great story. Good, evil, disrupted tranquility, hero, villain, beauty, rescue… it is the stuff of every great book or movie. My favorite annual “top ten” used to be the most Redeeming Films list from Christianity Today. Last published for 2012, it had been my handbook for most powerfully portrayed visuals of our redemptive story.
Rather than a top ten list of the annual films with Kirk Cameron produced by the Christian community, this was a list of the films that most powerfully portrayed the biblical narrative… often without realizing they were doing so. The gospel that is written on the heart of every human, beautifully and uncontrollably erupts into the frames of every great film.
Slumdog Millionaire was on the 2008 list. The review said this:
And, it is simply the gospel. A picture of redemption. An orphan, abandoned to the streets and trafficked, separated from real life and love, finds restoration. Millions plucked down their $10 and the critics raved. Very few of them even knew that what stirred them most was a desperate heart cry, deep beyond deep, for their own intended restoration with the Father. A love that will conquer their fear and darkness.
I remember my wife wanting to leave the theater. She would lean over and ask, “Is Jamal (protagonist) going to be okay?” and “Is there a happy ending?”. For her good heart, the tragedy of the journey through his story was simply too much to bear. She needed to know, as we slogged through the slums with him, that it was going to be okay in the end.
In the end, there was a glorious ending to the story.
Like every great story. Like our story.
We have been assured of our happy ending. We don’t need to be worried or afraid. But, we must live in the double-visioned tension of both present and future. We need to know, as we slog through the slums, that there is glory, beauty, and restoration coming. That one great hope may be necessary for us to triumphantly and heroically continue the journey.
Our very lives and the organizations (families, businesses, NFP's) we lead, have a unique role to play in the larger story of God. The one great story. It is telling that powerfully redemptive story through our lives that most powerfully stirs the hearts of others to the Kingdom. It is not a generic, antiseptic, or legalistic story, but a beautifully particular story, uniquely told.
It is all about finding the answer to the question “Why do I exist?” for your life or “Why do we exist?” for an organization. It is being on that journey (that process) that is really the destination. It is splashing in the stream of God’s unique and particular purpose for our lives that He is most glorified and others are most drawn.
Do you know why you exist?
Do you know why your organization exists?
Would your life be seen as one of the most redeeming stories of 2015?