From May 1976 until the early part of 2009, American radio broadcaster and commentator Paul Harvey was on the air with a popular commentary called: “The Rest of the Story.” During these segments, Harvey would talk about various topics of public interest laced with true-life stories. He was famous for his use of the dramatic pause and other speaking techniques to get his point across. Harvey would never finish the complete story in the first half of the broadcast. Usually he would introduce the topic or story during the first part of the program, but would delay the conclusion of the story until after a commercial break. When the commercial was over, he would begin the conclusion with the words: “And now. . . the rest of the story!”
Well, there are many who are preaching and teaching the Gospel today without telling the whole story! They tell the first segment or the appealing part without telling all or the rest of the story! For instance, if you listen to many who exclusively preach/teach prosperity and/or the “word of faith” messages, you might note the extensive use of Hebrews 11 as a proof-text. That chapter in the Bible has been called the “Great Hall of Faith!” In it, we read about Enoch, who, because of his faith and because he walked with God, was translated so that he did not see death! We read about the great heroes and she-roes of faith such as Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab! However, usually when this text is preached, the preacher/teacher will climax and stop with Hebrews 11:32-35a. But why conclude at 35a when 35b and following tell the rest of the story?
Hebrews 11:35b begins by reporting: “And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection.” The rest of the chapter relates what happened to others who suffered cruel mockings, beatings, imprisonments, being sawed in two, and having no certain dwelling place, wandering around in deserts and caves! Whew! You’re not going to get many members or have a good offering if you preach that! But that is the rest of the story! The people at the end of the chapter were just as faithful as those at the beginning because the Bible says (verse 39): “And all these, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.”
That’s the rest of story! No matter how faithful we are or how much faith we have, true biblical faith does not guarantee the earthly success and victory many would like to think it does! All the faith in the world will not prevent death from eventually knocking on our door! Yes! Through the grace of God, we may be healed today, but we are still going to die sometime tomorrow! King Hezekiah was sick unto death. But he prayed to the Lord and the Lord healed him of his sickness! But the rest of the story says that it was not an indefinite extension; it was only for 15 more years, after that, Hezekiah died!
We do the Gospel and the Kingdom of God a disservice when we preach and teach only the appealing parts of the story! We must be honest and tell people the rest of the story! There is tremendous blessing in being a Christian, but the rest of the story is that the blessing comes with trouble and persecution! Being a Christian does not exempt one from trouble and distress! However, being a Christian does enable one to have access to the Source the world does not have! The rest of the story is the Lord’s promise to be with us through it all! Jesus said in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” And that, my friend, is the rest of the story. . . Good Day!