Go Tell A Story

Berry Kercheville

AFTER TWENTY-SIX YEARS OF PREACHING I thought I hit the big-time. It was something I thought I would never attain to, beyond the reach of most modern males. For one ten-week period of time I was given my own Wednesday night first grade class. Well, actually it was my wife's first grade class and she invited me to come in and help teach. The class was studying the Old Testament and my job was to tell the appointed story in such a way that the kids would remember some of the great lessons from the law and the prophets. My wife had informed me that over the years many teachers simply read the story to the children out of a lesson book and that the children usually fidgeted and were bored. I needed to find a method of teaching that would bring God's word to life in little minds.

I tried to remember when I was this age and what turned me on toward God. My father loved to tell a Bible story. He would paint the scene with such graphic words and animation that we could feel the thunderous sound from the falling of the walls of Jericho. I had been practicing this same technique on my own children and now it was time to try it out on a bigger group. As the children filed into the classroom it was amusing to see their amazed looks. "You are going to be our teacher." a child exclaimed in shock. One shy little girl had to be pushed and coaxed in by her mother. I could barely hear her words uttered through clinched teeth, and lips that didn't move, "But it's the preacher!" Actually, I think the mother was as concerned as her daughter. Now I was becoming apprehensive. " I hope these kids don't freak out," I thought. But as the lesson unfolded I could see their eyes brighten just as mine had done so many years before when my father had told me these same stories.

Some Observations:

1. There is a very small window of opportunity to teach our children about the Lord. If Bible lessons and stories have not been made a major item in their lives by their ninth birthday, other interests (sports, video games, etc.) virtually crowd out any thoughts of God. It was sad to see many children who were hearing some of the most basic Bible stories for the first time. It was obvious during question periods that their parents rarely if ever worked on teaching them about God's word. Moses had said, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deut 6:7). When Israel did not do this, "another generation arose who did not know the Lord." Unfortunately, many parents are shirking their responsibility, expecting the church to do what is required of them.

2. Fathers need to be telling these stories to their children. When men speak with interest about spiritual things, children learn that faith in God is even for the big and strong. Paul Faulkner, in his book Achieving Success Without Failing Your Family, reports that if both father and mother go to church, seventy-two percent of the children will go when they are grown. If only the father goes, that figure drops slightly to 55 percent. But if only the mother goes to church, only 15 percent of those children will go when they are grown. It is any wonder that the Lord said, Fathers, raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord"?

3. To tell a story, one must know the story. Many parents and Christians think they could not tell a Bible story in such a way that would keep a child's interest. Usually the reason for the lack of confidence is because they do not really know the story. It takes many hours of careful reading of the scriptures and meditation on the biblical scenes to have a grasp of the feelings and movements of a Bible story. But the time invested is well worth it, not only in terms of your own children, but others as well. I have taught many neighborhood children and their parents by inviting them to the weekly class I have with my own children.

4. Everyone loves a good story. For children especially, the Bible needs to be unfolded before them with the excitement, intensity, and joy that only the word of God deserves. We scream and holler and "high-five" when our son or daughter scores a goal or catches a pass. Where is the same energy when we tell of Caleb going up on the mountain of Hebron at age 85 and defeating Kirjath Arba, the greatest man among the Anakim? If we cannot get excited about these great stories, our children will get the message loud an clear as to where our priorities lie.

Why not make a resolve to your children, to all our children, to go and tell a Bible story of what the Lord has done?

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