The Power of a Story

10:29 am grace, redemption, salvation

American writers Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker recently conducted an experiment that they called “Significant Objects.”  They bought worthless knickknacks at flea markets or antique stores, contacted a fiction writer to write a story about each object, and then resold the items on Ebay.  For example, an ugly plastic Russian doll, bought at a flea market for $3 was given to writer Doug Dorst.  Dorst wrote a story about a Russian woodcutter named Vralkomir who saved his village from freezing one winter by dancing on a pile of wood until it burst into flames.  The doll with the story sold on Ebay for $193.  In total, Glenn and Walker sold $128.74 worth of useless junk for $3,612.51.  The stories gave the objects a 2,706 percent increase in value (Popologetics, Ted Turnau, p. 11).
The power of a story is reinforced by the hymn, “Tell Me The Old, Old Story.”  This hymn was written by A. Katherine Hankey, of London, in 1866.  It has been translated into many different languages and has been set to different tunes.  Dr. W. Howard Doane (1832-1915) has this to say regarding the music by which it has become popular and the occasion on which he composed it: “In 1867 I was attending the International Convention of the Young Men’s Christian Association, in Montreal.  Among those present was Major-General Russell, then in command of the English force during the Fenian excitement.  He arose in the meeting and recited the words of this song from a sheet of foolscap paper–tears streaming down his bronzed cheeks as he read.  I wrote the music for the song one hot afternoon while on the stage-coach between the Glen Falls House and the Crawford House in the White Mountains.  That evening we sung it in the parlors of the hotel.”

The words to this hymn are:
Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.

Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.

Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave;
Remember I’m the sinner whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me the story always, if you would really be,
In any time of trouble, a comforter to me.

Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world’s empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world’s glory is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story: “Christ Jesus makes thee whole.”

Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.

The content of this story consists of heavenly things.  It is about Jesus and His glory and Jesus and His love.  It is the story of man’s redemption and salvation through a selfless savior.  The content of this story makes it priceless and brings hope and healing to struggling souls.
The presentation of this story is part of the “telling.”  Present it simply “as to a little child.”  Present it slowly “that I may take it in.”  Present it softly, “with earnest tones and grave.”  Present it often, “for I forget so soon.”  Present it always, “if you would really be, in any time of trouble, a comforter to me.”
The story of man’s redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the greatest story ever told.
There is only one thing left and that is the reception of it and commitment to the savior by loving obedience to His holy will (Mark 16:15-16).

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