I am remembering my fun-loving Dad, after almost forty years after his death. I remember his story-telling gift. Practice makes Perfect. He told the same stories over and over. He told stories of growing up in Western Oklahoma with his three brothers. He also loved to tell Bible stories. He had a way of making the Bible stories real and '‘now.” My brothers and I spent many Saturday evenings listening to Dad practice his Bible School lesson he would tell on Sunday. Soon Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph became our friends and we rejoiced and suffered with them.
Who doesn’t like a good story? Jesus told stories to teach, called parables. The Lost Coin, The Ninety and Nine, and the Seeds that fell upon different kinds of soil, and more. Add to these stories the miracles of healing, stilling the stormy sea, and turning water into wine at the wedding feast and we know Jesus. John 3:16-17 – “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. ” God’s promise of a happy ending to our lives is welcome and is spelled H-O-P-E never-ending.
We all have stories to tell of our life experiences. The sad stories hurt to tell, and the stories with happy endings are the most satisfying for us all.
Arabelle Katherine Hankey, who lived from 1834-1911, wrote the story of Jesus in one hundred four-line stanzas (verses). This endeavor was in two parts – The first 50 stanzas comprised The Story Wanted, and the second part was entitled The Story Told. The complete poem was printed in 1867. From this lengthy poem, came two hymns – Tell Me the Old, Old Story and I Love to Tell the Story. The lengthy poem – published in 1875, can be found here: www.truthfulwords.org/articles/hankeytoos.pdf.
William G. Fischer (1835-1912) composed music from several chosen stanzas of The Story Told, entitled I Love to Tell the Story. While William H. Doane (1832-1915) chose stanzas from The Story Wanted to create the song Tell Me The Old, Old Story.
Katherine had a time of severe illness and the doctor advised her to rest. Nothing could keep her from writing of Jesus. Even as Enoch walked with God, Kathryn walked with Jesus in her heart for a year as she wrote about His life on earth.
Robert Morgan shares how Katherine, as a young girl, taught a small group of girls in a Bible Study. They bonded for a lifetime of serving Jesus in many ways.
Katherine had a passion for missions after her brother became ill in Africa. She traveled there to bring her brother home and saw the need for the love of Jesus in hearts across the world.
In our lifetime there are different seasons God gives us. The secret to Joy in each season is telling the story of Jesus’ Great Love and sharing our story in Christ Jesus with others. This is what Katherine Hankey found! Little did she know how many would be moved and won for Jesus by her year of ‘walking with Jesus’ in her writing! Time is never wasted when Jesus is a part of our thoughts, actions, prayers, and the songs we sing.
No matter what our physical or emotional condition, stories of Jesus’ love can be told by writing words of life and light, singing songs of His Grace, praying in Jesus’ Name, and Acts of Kindness and Love.
God gifts each of us in different ways to glorify God by telling the story of living for Jesus. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. I Corinthians 12:4-5.
What do believers in Jesus do? “But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.” Acts 8:4. We are known throughout our lives by our actions and the words we speak. Do we live the Love of Jesus? What do you ‘preach’ with your life? What story are you telling others?
Psalm 66:8-9 - Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling.
Psalm 66:18-20 - If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.
Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 - But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
Colossians 3:23-24 - Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.