There’s Always More to the Story

Gratitude Day 415

Tues., Mar. 3, 2020

Acts 26:1: Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Go ahead. Tell us your story.” So, Paul, with many gestures, presented his defense:

It saddens me how often this happens.

We hear one or two sentences of a story, news article or gossip … and assume we know exactly what is happening. Before we hear the end of the story, we jump to conclusions about how the story will turn out. We assume we already know what did happen, what continues to happen and how it will turn out in the end.

But too often, we don’t really know.

There’s always more to the story than meets the eyes. Or what we heard. We get an itty-bitty slice of the story and are so sure we know “the rest of the story.”  

Before you jump to conclusions, take a deep breath. Pause. Stop.

There’s always more to the story.

Someone tells you some juicy bit of information and you create the “right” scenario of how something plays out.

Problem? There is always more to the story.

A few weeks ago, this news story broke:

The latest blow to the downtrodden dairy industry was delivered by none other than Starbucks Corp., with the coffee giant looking to condition customers to use milk alternatives in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

While Starbucks accounts for just 0.3% of U.S. milk production, the decision to formally declare an emphasis on non-dairy options may encourage other food-service outlets to follow suit. That could add momentum to the shift toward oat, nut, soy and other alternative beverages for health and environmental reasons.

Immediately, folks within the dairy industry began saying they were done going to Starbucks. Dairy companies issued statements. The ongoing debate about whether almond and soy and other liquids that are planted-based should be called milk reignited. Dairy farms cited how they are very aware of their carbon footprint.

Here’s the deal. There is always more to the story.

On Monday, Creekside Dairy, located in British Columbia, Canada, shared their story. Two weeks before the Starbucks story hit the media, they hosted a farm tour for Starbucks top executives. The tour’s intention was to learn more about the environmental sustainability of dairy and dairy farming. When the news broke that Starbucks was planning to phase out dairy, the Creekside Dairy folks were confused. They had been one of seven dairy operations Starbuck’s executives toured on Feb. 11.

While at Creekside Dairy, the Starbucks folks heard Creekside’s family generational dairy farming story. They shared their passion for stellar animal welfare and how they embrace the latest animal care research. Creekside detailed how they tend the land so it will be in better shape for the next generation. Creekside explained how milk produced on their farm could be consumed at a Starbucks just a short distance from the dairy. They felt Starbuck’s executives asked great questions and were genuinely interested in their farm.

When they asked the Starbucks representatives about the recent media story, a VP assured them that Starbucks will continue to serve dairy products while looking for options at ways they can be more environmentally sustainable. The dairy farm tours provided an opportunity for top executives to explore this. The executives were impressed how local dairy farms impact the local economy as they experienced agriculture’s human side.

There’s always more to the story.

Because Creekside Dairy shared their experience, we get to see how Starbucks is doing more than making statements.

My purpose here is not to take a stand on whether people should buy coffee from Starbucks. Or whether or not Starbucks is committed to offering dairy milk.

My point? There is always more to the story.

How many times have we jumped to a conclusion after we heard one or two sentences of a situation? Too often, we stop listening because we believe we already know how the story’s end.

Do we repost things on social media because they sound good … without taking a few minutes to discover if the information is accurate?

Have you experienced something you said being taken out of context when someone focused on just a few words without understanding what was said before and after the highlighted quote? If so, then you know how President Obama feels after a couple sentences from his audio book were lifted out of context and offered as a “oh, my gosh!” media story.

How many times have we looked at a person and served as their judge and jury on their current situation without knowing the rest of the story?

There’s always more to the story.

Often, we share misinformation about a situation in which we are convinced we know the “truth.” Sometimes, it’s not our story to correct … but then again, is it appropriate to assume as well?

There’s always more to the story. It’s our responsibility to seek out the correct information or not share information that may or may not be true.

When Paul became an early missionary of the Christian Church, there were lots of talk and rumors. This man had previously persecuted Christians. Now he was teaching about Christ. How could have this happened?

In today’s verse, we hear Paul sharing some of his rest of the story. I believe he did this carefully, in certain situations. When it would be helpful.

During this Lent, can we be just a bit more careful about jumping to conclusions … when we know there is more to the story? This is one of my growing edges as a Christian. Yesterday, I was reminded again how easy it is for us to assume we know the story … when there is always more to the story.

For knowing a God that is far more patient and less assuming than I am, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – why is it that we piously assume we know what is going on in a situation when there is always more to the story? Help us express more grace. More patience. More restraint. May we embrace that there is always more to the story. Amen.

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