Daniel Taylor, who is himself a masterful storyteller, says that a “master story” is a story that defines who we are. It’s something post-moderns would call a meta-narrative, that is, a “big story.”
For the Jewish people, the master story was the Exodus. To read the Old Testament is to hear constant remembrance of that defining story, of their rescue out of bondage, out of exile, by Yahweh. There are other defining stories, such as the Babylonian exile, but even there the stories echo back to the one defining story, the Exodus.
For Christians, the master story is the Resurection, the story of the God-man who died for His people to deliver them from bondage to sin, and rose again, giving the promise of new life, of a second and lasting chance. Come to think of it, even that story is a fulfillment of the incomplete deliverance of the Exodus, a perfect passage through a Red Sea of failure and suffering to a Promised Land of restoration, a lasting City.
And then, we each have our own little master story that defines who we are. An elderly friend of mine who is likely in the first stages of dementia, always speaks of his time as a missionary in the Fifties and Sixties. No matter what the topic, no matter what the question, no matter how one might try and redirect the conversation away from a well-worn path to save our ears, all paths lead back to that era. The story defines him. Ultimately, even there, at the heart of his story, he hearkens back to the one story, the Resurrection, because in the end, his little story is bound up in what Christ has done for him. He died for him, rose for him, and called him.
If I need to hear the Resurrection story repeated again and again (and I do), then I need to hear my friend's story again and again and again. By God’s grace I will listen to them both and find my own. They will tell me how to live. They will direct my path.