No matter what form a story takes–whether a comic book, a novel, a movie, a TV show, or a play–every good story involves conflict. How interesting would Batman be without the Joker as an antagonist? How exciting would the movie “Rudy” be if Rudy was content just being the team waterboy? Would “Harry Potter” still be a thrilling read without Voldemort trying to kill him through all seven books (and eight movies)? Even a good biography would be dull as dirt if the subject of the book never had any conflict in his life (check out the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas for this riveting biography during the days of Nazi Germany).
Although it is not universal, the common conflict in stories is some form of good versus evil, and typically the weak or uninvolved hero has to fight some internal or external conflict in order for good to win the day. Often this conflict is resolved in a way that is transformational to the life of the hero. While the transformation sometimes is simply the way others perceive the hero after the conflict is resolved, more frequently the transformation is internal in the way the hero perceives himself.
Nowhere is the story of conflict greater or more consequential than in the Bible itself. The history of the world and the conflict of good versus evil is seen repeatedly throughout the lives of the Old Testament patriarchs, but it culminates in the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. The ultimate battle of good versus evil between God and Satan is recorded for us as a roadmap for our lives and provides inspiration to us so we know that throughout our own problems and conflicts we can have victory through Christ and achieve life transformation that extends into eternity.
With so much riding in the balance what are we to do as individual believers or leaders of churches? Shouldn’t we care enough about those who haven’t met Jesus yet to move heaven and earth to make that introduction? Shouldn’t we care enough that it shows in our church services, our church facilities, and our our involvement and integration into our communities? You are called, and I am called, to present that message in the unique context and neighborhood that God has placed us. So why are we stepping over the torn carpet in the kid’s classrooms and not even noticing it? Why are we allowing the church’s landscaping to fill with weeds and the grass to grow long? Why are our buildings communicating that we don’t even care enough to take care of what we have, or that a “plain metal box” of a church building being plopped into a neighborhood where that is considered an eyesore is good stewardship?
With all of those strikes against us why should any non-believer care enough to step foot on our church campus or cross through our doorway? If we want them to come inside because we have the most important message on earth to share with them, then shouldn’t we care enough to do something about it? Shouldn’t we care enough to find out what it will take to reach the unique mission field where we are located and then “be” that for them? If your church says they are here to reach out to the unchurched, shouldn’t your facilities tell that story and communicate that invitation? Shouldn’t the story of our lives communicate to our friends and neighbors the conflicts, the hurt, the sin, that we have overcome and the freedom we have gained in Christ?
You’re a hero…maybe you just don’t know it yet. Or maybe you haven’t realized yet that your life or your church can tell the story that your friends, family, or community are longing to hear, and you can be the catalyst of life transformation on a scale you never dreamed of, in a story more important than any other ever told. Go be a hero.