Today's Lectionary Text
When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that
‘looking they may not perceive,
One of my best friends is a theater director who primarily works with youth. He will take kids from reading and blocking a script to producing a full-fledged Broadway-style musical – in the span of two weeks. (This year, it’s “Legally Blonde.”)
He lives by this credo, which he repeats to the audience before every performance: “Tell a person a fact and they will know. Tell a person a truth and they may believe you. But tell a person a story, and by God, that will live in their hearts forever.”
Stories draw us in. How often have those of us sitting in a congregation for a sermon perk up our ears when the subject turns to a story – sometimes personal, often humorous – told by our pastors? A former associate pastor at the United Methodist Church I was a part of in Iowa frequently used movies as illustrations for sermons because he believed they were “modern-day parables.”
Jesus knew the power of a story. Whether it was the sower, told in Luke 8: 4-10, or any other, He knew how to illustrate His message that would resonate with an audience. That audience didn’t need to be the ones who were already following Him – it lured a crowd to his teaching.
One of my favorite TV reporters, CBS’ Steve Hartman, used to have a segment called “Everybody Has a Story,” where he would throw a dart at a map and pick a name at random from the phone book and do a story about that person.
We all have stories. Telling them just might change someone’s life.
Prayer for Reflection
Dear Lord, the story of Your Son is the greatest story of them all. But help us remember that we all have stories -- and telling them could make a difference in Your Kingdom. Amen.
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