"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi
Telling the story
My family has always
told stories. For as long as I can remember, at almost any meal or sitting on
the porch, my parents would tell us stories about our family history and
ancestors. Through this practice, I know feel like I know my great-great
grandparents as well as if I had actually met them and spent time with them.
For example, my Uncle Franklin actually lost one of his eyes from a Red Ryder
BB gun long before Ralphie made the possibility known. I’ve learned that my
Great (x4) Grandmother DeHart used to regularly see Indians looking in their
rural home outside Valiparaiso, IN in the years before the Civil War. I know
about my Summers uncles who were lined up on their front porch in Union City
spitting tobacco into their dirt front yard when my dad brought his “city
girlfriend” (my mom) to visit his family one day. I know that my uncle and
cousins all grew up in Hampton and McDonough before those cities become cool
places to live.
Being a part of a
storytelling family has made a big difference in my life. It has enabled me to
have a sense of identity with those who came before. It has also given me a
love and appreciation for the art of telling a story in a way that others can
identify and enjoy. If you follow me on Facebook, then you can certainly
understand how I am continuing the family practice of detailing the lives of me
and my family for all those who pay attention. Often to my Mother’s dismay.
Christians are to be
storytellers. How else do you think the story and message of Jesus has spread
from 12 common, ordinary men to millions of people worldwide with many more
added each day? Those first disciples simply told the story. And those that
heard, told someone else, and they told others and so on and so on. And now,
here we are in 2013 and still telling the story. And, the amazing thing is that
the story has not changed for these 2,000+ years. God loves us and sent His Son
to show us and provide a way for us to live in God’s presence for all eternity.
Same story then and same story now.
Oh, various churches
and speakers may add various creeds and regulations, but nothing humans do can
change that message. God loves you and me. Believe on in Jesus and live the
best you can in the way He taught us. And….then….tell others.
Go, tell and make
disciples and followers was the final commandment that Jesus gave us before He
returned home to His Father. It wasn’t a suggestion or a casual comment. It was
a commandment. We are to tell others. Tell the story of Moses, of Abraham, of
Isaac and Joseph. Tell others about David and Ruth and Isaiah and
Nebuchadnezzar. People need to know about Jesus and his family, about the
disciples, Paul, Peter, John, Mark, Barnabus and all the others who began the
story spreading across the world.
Don’t force the
story on people; just share your experience in your words and in your way.
That’s what I always try to do. God continues to teach me stuff each day and
even though I often mess up, I can know that God is present and glad to help me
if I only ask Him for help. How do I know this? Because people have told me
their stories of surviving tough times and God’s blessings on them.
If you are a
believer, then you’ve got a story to tell. What are you telling by the way you
act and talk and live? Make sure it is the message you want to people to know.
And for today my
friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.