A good story

Kat is reaching Muslims through telling stories from the Bible. This seemingly simple strategy is having some profound results, as the Bible speaks for itself:

“Who was the only person not at the party?” The question lingered in the air for a few moments as the young man thought about the story of the Prodigal Son. I was volunteering at a Christian book table in the city centre when this Muslim stopped by to begin a discussion about faith. He claimed that he lived a perfect life, unlike the Christians that he knew, and then asked why he should follow the Christian faith.

He reminded me of the older brother in the Prodigal Son story, so I retold this as best as I could remember, and then asked him to recall the one person not part of the celebration. After a few moments he said, “I know what you are saying”. I then shared my testimony of how I had been like the older son, trying to earn my way into the party of fellowship with God, when all I needed to do was accept the invitation God offers through Jesus. Eventually he ended the conversation by thanking me and saying that he now had much to consider.

After that improvised sharing of this story, I wanted to study, craft and learn it, to be better prepared for the next opportunity to share it. The process encouraged me to meditate on several themes found within it, including ingratitude, self- righteousness, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

The following week I met with a friend, a recent believer, who was in a dispute with another friend. After telling her the story and asking a few questions, she began to discover for herself the consequences of unforgiveness to relationships with friends and with God. We studied the story to better understand the elements needed for a relationship to be restored. She was able to forgive and begin rebuilding the relationship with her friend.

Stories have the capability of simultaneously imparting simple morals and profound truths.
The different needs of a diverse audience can be addressed by a single story that touches on several themes and crosses different cultures. Since stories aid memory recall, they can be an efficient and reproducible medium for transmitting information to several generations of listeners. A well-told story can inspire people to listen who might not otherwise have been inclined to engage.

Jesus often used stories to teach about God and His kingdom. These stories were sometimes humorous and other times shocking. Some explained a mystery while others were so enigmatic that Jesus needed to explain them. All of His stories inspired the listeners to consider and engage with spiritual truths, often leading to belief in Jesus and changed lives.

The next day, another young Muslim approached the book table. He had been studying different faiths and had started attending a small group at a local church but still had several questions about the Christian faith. To address
the multiple issues in one story, I decided to tell him a five-minute ‘Creation to Christ’ story, including the fall, promises to Abraham and Isaiah, and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. At the end,
I asked him what he thought. He answered, “I believe.”

Everybody loves a good story, and Christians have a great story to tell. As God’s story teaches and transforms us, let us share His story with others so they, too, can be redeemed and transformed by God.

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of ReachAcross News and is used with permission. ReachAcross is an Affinity Associate Member and exists to share the gospel with Muslims and serve them in practical ways throughout the world: in the traditional heartlands of Islam, in the west, and wherever they may be found. For more information visit www.reachacross.net


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