Throughout my life I have been surrounded by natural story-tellers. My paternal grandpa was the best story-teller ever. He could bring the grit, the laughter, or the event, to the forefront and make you feel like you were a silent observer to the event as it originally unfolded. If it were a particularly funny story, my grandfather would sometimes start laughing mid-story, which would always draw us further into whatever he was sharing.
My maternal grandpa told me the stories found in the stars. It was almost as if he were a landlocked sailor who could only tell me the stories he found in a night sky. I loved his gentle voice and kind, soft touch as he stroked my cheek.
Stories draw us into a moment. They build connections between the teller and the listener that will last long after the events have passed. Jesus knew that. He could have come to Earth with a long list of things we could do and not do. But He didn’t. He came with stories.
Stories that told us how to love each other, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Luke 6:27-28).
Jesus told us how to forgive each other. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:37-38).
How to love each other. “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:29-31).
Jesus told us stories about Heaven, “Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31).
Jesus knew we needed a way to connect our finite selves to an infinite God Who lived in a place we couldn’t see, couldn’t touch, and in many ways couldn’t understand. So Jesus told stories in a way that a culture with a long standing oral history tradition would understand. It is a style we still use in song writing today.
It is the world’s history Jesus was adding to when He walked the dusty roads of Galilee. It is the same history to which we add our stories.
The question is will we share our stories with others?
“So what’s your story, about His glory? You gotta find your place in the history of grace? What’s your story about His glory? Come on in and find your place.”
~The Next Thing You Know~ lyrics by Matthew West