The new garden bench got a lot of use today. A young couple showed me photos of the new house they just moved into, and the plans they had to take the barren yard and fill it with flowers.
As about ten different people filtered in and out of the garden today, I heard stories of how the small redbud tree could grow along with a granddaughter, and it filled my heart with joy that the plants I sell will have a story.
I, too, shared some stories. This is the optimum time to transplant irises, the state flower in Tennessee and my personal favorite. My customers smiled as I reminisced about the “Lost Iris” and my quest to fill the void left by a simple garden accident.
Stories continued well into the evening, as an elderly couple sat and enjoyed the cooling shadows on that bench, and told me how a close brush with death led them to commit to their current life’s work in rehabilitation of drug addicts, I shared our story of a recovered addict in our family, and his tattoos that mark the years he has been clean and sober.
Good stories, all. It is important to slow down and tell the stories of struggles overcome, whether they are horticultural or spiritual.
When it gets right down to it, doesn’t our life really consist of sweet, sad, funny, horrific, and heartwarming stories? Whether they are told or not, the stories continue day by day, year by year, decade after decade. Some change us permanently, others just make life better or worse temporarily.
The story that has the greatest effect on your life is the one told in the gospels. Oh, whether you let it affect you now is irrelevant; it WILL change your eternity one way or another, whatever your reaction is in the here and now.
“Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11, NASB).
As my husband and I sat in church not too long ago, we sang, “Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.”
That story has “all the feels,” as they say. Joy, sadness, anger, grief, regret, contentedness, amazement and wonder, and deeper sacrificial love than we could ever wrap our minds around.
As we sang together, we glanced at one another as the stanza ended. A flicker of a smile always crosses our lips at that point in the song, because we expect a soft “ding” sound every time. You young people will not understand why.
This was the theme song for the “Jule Miller filmstrips” that were instrumental in bringing so many souls to Christ many decades ago. After learning the gospel through Mr. Miller’s wonderful work and through studying the Bible along with the five-lesson filmstrip series, we then went on to use this method ourselves in scores of home Bible studies, baptizing many.
The “ding” or musical tone we were waiting for was used in these filmstrips to let us know when to turn the knob to project the next image onto the screen or wall, and the first tone was at the title page as the song played from the vinyl record or cassette tape used to narrate.
“The Story of Jesus,” as the song calls the gospel, continued to be told and souls were saved. Friendships were forged that will last through eternity.
Tell your stories. Tell THE story. “Sweetest that ever was heard!”