The Power of Stories

The story of David committing adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder and cover up is a well-known Old Testament story, as is the following account of Nathan confronting David about his sin (2 Sam. 11-12). I was reading through those passages in my devotions and I was reminded of a recent presentation I heard on it as it related to preaching.

The speaker highlighted how Nathan used his fictitious story and personal imagery to strike right at the heart of David’s sin. He didn’t recount the dry facts of the case or even cite the Mosaic Laws David broke. He told a story to get David emotionally involved and then shatter his self-righteousness with one cruel punchline –  “You are the man!”

Illustrations and stories are invaluable keys to helping our messages impact our audience.

But on a deeper level, I am reminded of how my own heart works. If I have a calloused heart, it’s not enough to recognize something is wrong, because brokenness is emotional as well as intellectual. Conviction and repentance starts with a breaking of the pride and selfishness that has taken root in my heart. And stories help take the abstract concept or rule that I probably have already ‘memorized’ in my head,  and they compel me to apply it by engaging my emotions.

Stories are powerful and need to be an intregal part of our ministries and our personal spiritual walks.

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