29 October 2017
Reading: Job 20; Mark 3-4
He taught by using stories, many stories. (Mark 4:2 MSG)
He told them, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. (Mark 4:11 MSG)
He continued, “Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way.” (Mark 4:13 MSG)
33 With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. 34 He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots. (Mark 4:33-34 MSG)
Jesus taught important truths about life by telling stories about life. Jesus told stories that related to the things people saw and did everyday – farming, fishing, homemaking, shopping in the market, eating with family and friends. He fitted his stories to the experiences, maturity, and receptivity of his hearers. The stories nudged people toward spiritual truths, gradually creating readiness and receptivity for the moment their eyes would open and it would all make sense to them. This was not accidental or incidental. Jesus said, “All my stories work this way.”
I have a friend who is a master story teller. He tells stories about his past, his work, his hobbies, his family. Being with him constantly reminds me of the value of stories. My friend’s stories can be pretty long! It’s not uncommon to have to ask him to tell the shorter version of a story. Sometimes my friend’s stories seem to take on a life of their own and go off in the most unusual directions! It’s not uncommon to hear one of my friend’s stories and think, “What was that all about?” But I always look forward to my friend’s next story, even if it’s one I’ve heard three times already.
Father, Please help me to be as good a story-teller as my friend is, and as clear on how and why I tell stories as Jesus is. I pray that my stories would create readiness for truth, nudging the hearers toward receptive insight. I would like to be able to say, “All my stories work this way.” Amen.