Got a Story?
From the Grecian orator to the mother reading her children a bedtime story, from the TV anchor describing a news event to the African chief narrating tribal history to his young warriors, from the preacher illustrating his theological argument with an allegory to the novelist writing his romantic tale—all these individuals have
one thing in common: they are conveying a message through a story.
During His three years of ministry on earth, Jesus did not spend His time debating the finer points of the Scriptures with the leading theologians of His day. He simply conveyed His message of God’s love and grace through everyday life stories or parables.
Throughout history it seems that the best way to get one’s point across has been to illustrate one’s thoughts enfolded in a story. During His three years of ministry on
earth, Jesus did not spend His time debating the finer points of the Scriptures
with the leading theologians of His day. He simply conveyed His message of
God’s love and grace through everyday life stories or parables. These simple,
easy-to-understand narratives became our Lord’s trademark, particularly among
the unassuming farmer and down-to-earth fishermen families. They thronged to
the mountainside and the shores of Galilee to hear profound truths through
stories about everyday things they witnessed. They could picture a man mugged
and left for dead by common robbers; a persistent widow who eventually wore
down the patience of a local judge; an unattached woman who lost one penny and
acted as though she had lost her entire fortune; or a heartsick father scanning
the horizon every day looking for a glimpse of his wayward son. Now two
thousand years later, we still read, speak about, and reflect on these same
If we (as
administrative or local church stewardship leaders) are ever to effectively
relate the importance of stewardship, we need to
tell more stories. Not just any narratives, but ones that are personal—based on
real-life experiences. When someone presents his or
her personal stewardship testimony in church, it becomes an effective,
educational tool that ‘grabs’ the members’ attention, helping them to incorporate
the ‘bottom line’ of the story into their own daily lives.
One of the best ways we can make stories last a lifetime is to include a stewardship story each quarter about great men and women from the past during the children’s story time at church.
To get us started
here is a story from my own family. My father, Ernie, was a faithful member of
a small local church on the South Island of New Zealand. He worked as a
salesman for a major brush company, and his only ‘claim to fame’ was that for
many years, at the annual national conference of brush salespeople, he was
named the number one salesperson for the whole country. The other salesmen and
women could not understand how he was so successful because he only sold his
brushes and brooms door to door from Monday to Thursday. The other salespeople
often made most of their sales—up to 50 percent of their weekly totals—on
Saturday, because that was when women who worked during the week were home, and
they also had the money to purchase the brushes, brooms, and sweepers. The
other salespeople probably never imagined that when we are faithful to our
Heavenly Father with our observance of the Sabbath, He affirms our loyal
respect of His time with such abundant blessings.
One of the best
ways we can make stories last a lifetime is to include a stewardship story each
quarter about great men and women from the past during the children’s story
time at church. An example would be the life of William Colgate, and how a ship
captain encouraged him to tithe 10 percent of his income. Later when he became
an entrepreneur, he gave 40 to 50 percent of his income to the Lord’s work. The
storyteller could distribute small toothpaste containers to each child, and ask
them all to remember—as they brush their teeth—the significance of giving to
the church and world missions.
This next Sabbath, let us begin a new chapter in
the stewardship program at our local churches. Let’s highlight our stewardship
emphasis with stories!