26 April 2017
Reading: 2 Samuel 1; Psalm 140; Matthew 13
1 At about that same time Jesus left the house and sat on the beach. 2 In no time at all a crowd gathered along the shoreline, forcing him to get into a boat. 3 Using the boat as a pulpit, he addressed his congregation, telling stories. (Matthew 13:1-3 MSG)
Jesus told stories. His stories were simple and memorable and held layers of meaning for those who heard him – meaning that was revealed and understood according to the hearts of the hearers. The story could stay in the hearer’s mind for years and then take on meaning when the person was ready to understand the hidden truth.
Jesus’ close followers enjoyed the stories along with everyone else but they had ears to hear and wanted to know more. The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?” (Matthew 13:10 MSG)
Jesus’ reply is a lesson to everyone who desires to communicate truth,“…I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it.” (Matthew 13:13 MSG)
Jesus’ Kingdom of God stories in Matthew 13 are simple and memorable: the treasure in the field – two sentences; the costly pearl – two sentences; the fishnet – two sentences. Jesus’ “Lost people matter to God” stories in Luke 15 are equally memorable: the lost sheep; the lost coin; the lost son. Jesus’ stories are simple, memorable, and the truth hidden in the story is ready when you are.
I want to be a better story-teller. I want to communicate profound, eternal truth in simple, memorable ways. Whether speaking to a group of disciples, or in a friendly conversation about life, or to someone whose pain, frustration, and fear limits what they can hear, I want to keep my communication simple and memorable.
Father, Help me first to live a good story, then to recognize a good story when I see it, and then to be a good story-teller. And help me to tell stories that will be remembered. Simple and memorable. The truth ready when the hearer is. Thank you for including me in your story. Amen.