Tell Me The Story …

A missionary in the South Sea islands was invited to a king?s palace. There the king sat, resplendent in his royal clothing, surrounded by his wives, and drinking coconut wine.
?Why have you come to our islands,? he demanded angrily.
The missionary considered explaining that he was employed by a church in England to spread the gospel. Instead, on a whim, he began to tell a story. The wives put down their bowls of fruit and listened. So did the royal children. The king rested his chin on his hand as the story developed. When he got to the point where God?s son was unjustly tried and convicted, he could contain himself no longer.
?Where are these evil people?? he cried out, ?I offer my personal army to go punish them for what they did to the son of God!?
Never underestimate the power of a story.
William Bennet, who was once ?Drug Tsar? for president George Bush began to realize that law enforcement and technology was inadequate to the task of stopping the flow of drugs into the United States. He tried another strategy. He wrote a book of stories for kids, ?The Book of Virtues,? a collection chosen for their ability to illustrate morals that a society needs to survive.
He explains that these stories carried four values children needed (page 12). They helped children develop ?moral reasoning.? His stories illustrated people making good choices.
Secondly, stories fascinate children. ?Nothing in recent years,? Bennet observes, ?on television or anywhere else, has improved on a good story that begins ?once upon a time.??
Thirdly, these stories help ?anchor our children in their culture, its history and traditions. Lastly, teaching stores is an ?act of renewal.? Society is renewed when the wisdom of the centuries is instilled in a new generation.
That?s why the greatest teacher who ever lived ?did not say anything to (the crowds) without using a parable? (Matthew 13:34).
And as the missionary proved, the gospel story is an especially powerful one. Never underestimate the power of a story. Especially the story!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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