(Graphic artwork by McKenzi Matsick)
By Selma Komisky
“A good story that is easy to follow is relatable and memorable.”
As a child, growing up in the ‘60s, when I think of good storytellers, I immediately think of Walt Disney and Fred Rogers who both had popular children’s television shows where they were narrators. I, along with millions of other children would sit captivated for an hour, listening, learning, and watching these men tell interesting and creative stories.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was the ultimate storyteller. He called these stories parables. A parable is a common short story or analogy with a heavenly truth. You can find most of the parables in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).
Jesus’ words painted beautiful illustrations that made multitudes of people gather to listen to him teach. He had a unique way of communicating with people of all ages and backgrounds. And what I love about Jesus’ artistry is simple yet so profound. Jesus always engaged his listeners.
Good stories make good bridges to meet people where they’re at. Jesus had a knack for this. He shared with the lowest of the low and the wealthy. He had compassion on people.
I think what I liked about Walt and Fred was their ability to connect. I always enjoyed how Walt Disney and Fred Rogers made me feel. I can’t explain it, but they made me feel like they were just talking to me. Rogers taught about life issues, inclusiveness, mental health and kindness. Disney educated on true life like nature, space, history and entertained by sparking your imagination through his animation.
We too can be like these famous narrators. Did you know that you can be a storyteller? It doesn’t cost anything, and you don’t need a higher education degree. All you need is to be willing to share a story and a heart for people and the unchurched. How will a person ever know Jesus if they never met Him before?
I love people and I enjoy having a good conversation. I just happened to use it for God’s kingdom. You ask how? Well, I pray and when I have an opportunity, I like to share the Good News.
In turn, Jesus’ parables remind us of our need for a Savior.
I think about the short time Jesus was here on Earth and spoke to everyone. Although the groups of people that gathered could relate to his parables, His teachings allowed listeners to have their own responses. Meaning, Jesus knew some would miss the whole point and reject the message in His stories, and that some would understand the lesson and accept it. His simple parables were overflowing and filled with spiritual truths of God. The full meaning of the parables was reserved for those who believed.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 in the New Living Translation says, “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, ‘Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?’ But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”
Therefore, learning to share the Good News can be intimidating. Sometimes a lot of people hesitate to share for fear of being rejected. I totally get that. However, I would encourage you not to shy away from it. If you follow Jesus’ example, you can simply be a storyteller and share your story. Because, let’s face it, everyone has stories they can share.
Mr. Rogers shared his simple message, “You are special.” Thousands of children and even grown adults melted when they heard that. And the result was they told someone else the message they heard. So it is when sharing the Gospel with others.
It is powerful to help others feel like they are not alone and make that person feel comfortable to share their own story. If the message is simple, it will be easy to receive.
They might not understand everything, but God gives everyone an opportunity to receive his salvation message. All we have to do is ask, and they are left with the choice to accept or reject.
So, go back to basics, dare to be that creative storyteller. Build a bridge to share the Gospel and let God do the rest.