The Power of Telling a Story
Jesus often used stories to illustrate how to live as his disciples. I believe hearing the stories of Jesus still equip us to live out his call on our lives. And here is one example of how I think that works.
I have often heard people talk about the Great Commission passage in Matthew 28, but I wonder if we have missed what it means. It is too easy to simply make the point that “go into all the world” means go out of your front door and into your world.
What does that mean in terms of real life action? I believe Jesus explains exactly how his followers go into their world and make other followers. I think he shows how to go, where to go, and what to do when we get there.
Listen to the stories he told about going into your world.
How do I go? I go living forgiven.
She was a woman caught in adultery. The response by those who caught her was the familiar refrain of guilt, shame, and feelings of worthlessness. But Jesus offered forgiveness, not condemnation. And then he told her to “go and leave your life of sin”. Go back among her friends and family as a changed person. Live forgiven. That is how we demonstrate the truth that Jesus changes lives. We are the living examples of God’s work in this world.
Where do I go? To those in need – and then serve them intentionally.
The story of the Good Samaritan was told to illustrate who is our neighbor. It is the story of a man who saw someone in need and then did something about it. He cared for them. Your world, your neighborhood, is full of hurting people in need of help. Physical needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs. Sick people, abused people, lonely people, addicted people. The last thing Jesus said after the story of the Good Samaritan was for us to “go and do the same.” So we go into our world as servants committed to helping others. But we do it with purpose.
We serve intentionally in the name of Jesus. This gives us credibility to speak into lives. Our lives are living proof that Jesus works. Our service is the proof that the Jesus story is worth hearing.
What do I do when I go? Speak with courage the story of Jesus.
He fought so many demons he was called Legion. He was lonely and in pain. Jesus met him, connected with him, and healed him. When Jesus left that place, Legion was ready to go with him. He was all in for a mission trip with Jesus. Except that Jesus told him no. Instead, he told him to go home to his family and tell them what the Lord had done for him and how he had mercy on him.
Our lives give credibility to the story of Jesus. Our service gives opportunity to share that story. But you will not make followers of Jesus in your world until you tell them the good news of Jesus. Tell your story. Tell His story. And invite them to become part of the story.
Go into all the world. Go into your world.
Serve with Purpose.
Speak with Courage.
And you will make followers… who will make followers… who will make followers.
Steve Ridgell lives to share the story of Jesus with this world. In addition to his work as Director of Ministry for Hope for Life, Steve is a regular writer for Heartlight.org and has written books. His latest book is Can I Tell You a Story? Steve also serves as an elder at the Southern Hills church of Christ in Abilene, Texas.