I preached a sermon where I told a story. It was a rather common story about flying into a city where the wind was blowing strongly. I described the calm above the clouds, but how going through the clouds to land we felt the wind blowing our frail craft to the left and the right. But the pilot had instruments that could “see” through the storm. And we landed safely.
The relevant point was on the “Seeing through” that was in line with the point of my sermon. Interestingly a couple of people said that they were really moved by the story and how behind every cloud there is a silver lining. Another person said that he was encouraged to live above the storm and not get caught up in the storms of life. Neither was my point. They had heard the story and began to “hear” different main points. They left with a sermon that I didn’t preach.
Upon reflection, I realized that I may have spent too much time talking about the sun above the storm. In reality, even though it was true, I didn’t have to talk about it at all. While it is true that in some sense, people will hear what they want or need to hear right now, it is also true that we can do our best to keep our stories on point. Don’t let a story, even if it is relevant, steal your main point and leave your people with a side point.