As a child, I loved whenever a missionary was guest speaker at our church. I still do! The missionaries always told great stories. You could count on it. I always perked up and paid attention when they started talking about what God did in the past and what He is doing right now: people getting saved, others healed, answers to prayer, the fantastic work of a sovereign God.
I loved those stories because they demonstrated the genuine power of God, portrayed a God who cared about and loved people, and brought to life the people in distant places. Their stories provided evidence of a God who is as active in the world today as he was in the days of the Bible.
Telling stories about what the Lord has done is a central theme of the Bible. In Joshua chapter two, two men are sent to investigate the situation in Jericho. When they returned, they told Joshua everything that had happened to them, and then concluded, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.”
Many of the Psalms are poems and songs about the goodness of God and what He did in the psalmist’s life. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth.”
When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman in John chapter four, her experience with the Lord made such a powerful impact that she left her water jar at the well and hurried back to town to tell her friends and neighbors, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?”
And in Luke’s telling of the Christmas story, after the shepherds encountered the angels out in the fields, they went and told people what they had experienced. “All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said.”
Too many Christians think they have nothing to say to their friends and family. A lot of good people never talk to their neighbors or co-workers about the Lord, thinking they’re not qualified, not smart enough, or not eloquent. Others think it’s their job to convince, persuade, or condemn, but it’s not. All they have to do is tell their story. No arguing, no convincing, just tell the story.
There’s an interesting note in the Gospel of Mark: “And so the news about Jesus spread quickly everywhere in the province of Galilee.”
The news spread everywhere not because they had great preachers, widespread media coverage, and several megachurches in the area. No, the reason the news spread so quickly was because ordinary people simply talked about what Jesus had done.
While I was at the local bookstore the other day, one particular book caught my eye. I picked it up and glanced inside. It looked good and had a catchy title, but it was the subtitle that spoke to me: “Never Stop Sharing Stories.”
That’s what the Church needs to do today. Rather than arguing over politics, denominationalism, or theology, what if Christians just told people the story of what God has done in their lives, and what the Lord is doing right now. I think people would perk up and pay attention, just like I did as a kid when I listened to the missionaries tell their stories.