How Story Could Change the World
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
“Daddy, please tell us a story!” we begged.
We had just finished another supper of corn bread, Georgia field peas, baked ham, fresh tomato slices, and, of course, sweet iced tea. My sisters and I had cleared the dishes, and now came the time we eagerly awaited as we sat at the family table. Which one would it be? The one about great-grandfather Pratt, an inventor who had the first car in Atlanta and kept the formula for Coca-Cola in his safe (for his buddy Asa Candler)? Or the one about Daddy’s childhood pet frog Puddin’ who croaked so long and loudly one night that Grandfather shot him? Maybe we’d hear again of how sixteen-year-old Daddy wrote the manager of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and offered his high school band, The Stardusters, to play there – receiving a very polite letter declining the offer.
We didn’t care which one he chose. We loved a good story and Daddy told the best.
We also had family devotions around the table and heard other stories – of God’s great love for a people who too often rejected Him, of saints and sinners all used by God to do incredible things, and of miracles, mangers, and meanderings through the wilderness.
And some nights Daddy pulled out his reel-to-reel tape recorder and thrust the microphone in our faces, “interviewing” us about life, our school activities – urging us to recite a memorized poem or scripture or song.
Is it any wonder I grew up loving stories?
I still do. Not only that, I’m grateful to be living a story, one that is totally unique and utterly unpredictable. But most of all, I rejoice that I’m part of God’s great story of a kingdom that never ends. It is my deepest prayer that I will live my story with honor and be faithful to the end. I’m a writer who wants to shine as a storyteller like Jesus.
Because the world today is enchanted with stories. We not only want to read a good book or watch a thrilling movie; we often become totally absorbed in the characters – both fictional and real. We’re eager to see the plot resolved, journey completed, mystery solved, or lovers reconciled. Stories help us deal with life.
Eugene Petersen said, “Story is the primary way in which the revelation of God is given to us. The Holy Spirit’s genre of choice is story… Moses told stories; Jesus told stories; the four Gospel writers presented their good news in the form of stories. And the Holy Spirit weaves all this storytelling into the vast and holy literary architecture that reveals God to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the way that he chooses to make himself known. Story. Story is the primary means we have for learning what the world is, and what it means to be a human being in it. No wonder that from the time we acquire the mere rudiments of language, we demand stories.”
We long for meaning in our ministry, purpose in our passion, and worth in our walk of faith. The opening Scripture certainly reinforces the view that Jesus was a theologian who told stories. Eternal truths were communicated clearly through parables structured around everyday experiences such as planting seeds, borrowing money, or welcoming home a rebellious teenager.
All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon. His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy: I will open my mouth and tell stories; I will bring out into the open things hidden since the world’s first day. Matthew 13.34-35 MSG
Are you sharing your own stories? Beginning at home with your family, but also extending to anyone who will listen? As a writer, you have the opportunity to reach around the world with your stories.
The world is full of people angrily spouting their opinions. The internet is clogged with judgment and condemnation. But harsh tones turn off listeners. What people are longing to hear are stories. Of good triumphing over evil. Of the downtrodden who overcame great odds. Stories of adventure, truth, valor and courage. Stories that draw us in and hint that perhaps even we could be like that person. Real stories of those who are broken just like us. But then, they rise… They make discoveries and transform into more than they ever imagined. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2.9)
How will the story of your life unfold? When will you share it?
“Let those who have been set free by the Lord tell their story.” (Psalm 107:2)
under the mercy, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
excerpted from Life-Giving Choices ~ 60 Days to What Matters Most by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
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©2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.EncouragingWords.net
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