The Passion of a Story

He brought the stories and the history to life. He told me things I didn’t know and brought new meaning to details I knew, but hadn’t thought were significant. People and stories of the Bible that I only understood on the black and white pages of my Bible became real, 3-D, live action adventure stories. His great love for his country and his deep knowledge and understanding of its past and present led me to see what he sees and begin to love what he loves. I am only one face out of thousands of tourists that he introduced to his country, but for me, he is the face of Israel.

Ezra Eini was a soldier in the Six Day War. He and his wife raised their three boys (one of whom was killed by terrorists) in a nation constantly threatened by violence, and he has dedicated his life to teaching about the place and the people that God chose for himself. His passion for his country, his knowledge and his professionalism, mixed with humor and genuine compassion, make him the ideal ambassador to introduce people like me to his culture and country. I am forever changed by what I saw and learned, and I have encouraged everyone I know to go and experience what I experienced.

His calling is as a guide and teacher for tourists in the country of Israel. He stripped away the façade built by the American media and helped us see Israel as it actually is. But it occurs to me that every Christian has the same calling he does. Ecc 3:11 says that “God has set eternity in the hearts of men.” God wants to be known and loved by his people, and our first priority is to be in relationship with him. But because he loves all of us, we are required to be guides and teachers for God to those who don’t yet know him. During the course of my life, I have learned things about God that others need to know. After years of study, I understand things about his word and the stories contained in scripture that have given me hope and understanding and peace. Those stories have given me the courage to trust God as they did, and now I have some stories of my own.

God recorded his word as our Bible, but he didn’t intend for us to just know its stories. He wants each of us to come to understand his love for us as demonstrated in those stories, and trust him enough to have our own stories with him. True change doesn’t occur by accumulating facts. I could have read a book on Israel and learned a lot. But experiencing it, learning about it through the heart of one who loves it, made it significant to me, helped me learn to love it as well. I think that is what Jesus meant when he said, “Go and make disciples.” (Matt 28:19) He didn’t say “Go give information”; making disciples involves relationship and change in perspective and expectation.

God calls each of us to be his ambassadors. We’re not all preachers or teachers, but once we have a story of how God has worked in our lives, he requires that we share it so others can see him, can know his power, and can learn to love what he loves. He has “set eternity in our hearts” because he wants us to find comfort and delight in what he has planned for us, regardless of the circumstances we face this day.

May your love for God and your story of his love for you be the means by which God introduces himself to someone you know. May your love for your Savior and Lord lead others to see him as he is, and may your passion and your story inspire others to trust and obey and more deeply love the God who loved them first.

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