Tell Me A Story

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From somewhere in the dark reaches of my mind, I remember a book titled: “Storytelling Made Easy.” The ‘how to” of storytelling was part of our teacher training. Recently I have been more than impressed by the efforts of my friends in Pakistan to teach the Word through what they call, “storying.” Many cultures are built around people telling their stories as a means of passing down their heritage and knowledge from one generation to another. So it made perfectly good sense for our missionaries to tell God’s “story," one story at a time, in a way that was familiar to the Pakistanis. We tell our children bedtime stories. Storytelling is something we all do, whether we formalize it by giving it such an exalted title or not.

Mark 4:33, 34 comes just after Jesus has told a series of stories to illustrate the nature of the kingdom of God. Mark makes this statement: “With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.”

Jesus was a storyteller. His stories took common things that his listeners would understand and, using those familiar things, He would move those listeners from what they already knew to the eternal truths that they had yet to learn.

Sometimes they understood; sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes it was just a good story and they missed the eternal truth by more than that proverbial country mile. Even the disciples had to have things explained to them.

This morning I sat with a woman in the kitchen in the church office. We could have jumped right into our Bible Study but since this was our first session and I knew very little about her, I felt I needed to hear her story, to know more about her as a person. And boy, did she tell her story!

But it was important for her to tell it, and for me to hear it. It was important  to know the story so that I could hang truth on it.

The passage from Mark, and this morning’s study session, remanded me that one of the best ways for us to share our faith is simply by telling our stories. Though we may come from different countries and cultures, speak different languages, have different backgrounds and life experiences, we all know joy and pain, triumph and failure, gain and loss. Our stories, and the God-prints in those stories, can be the means to bring the restoring power of God into stories of others.

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