1 Corinthians 1:17: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.  

Wisdom is praised highly in the Bible as a guiding force, more precious than riches. There’s an entire book of the bible filled with nothing but distilled wisdom.  And then the word eloquence speaks of carefully chosen words to convey meaning in an efficient yet intriguing way. Surprisingly though, Paul says “I’d be emptying the cross of its power if I preached to you in that way.”

Facts tell but stories sell.

When my grandma died in 2005, I was asked to speak at the memorial. My early-20s self was thoroughly shocked, having never been asked to speak before. So I slaved over a script that would hopefully honor my grandma’s wonderful life. Eventually, I found myself precariously perched on a wobbly stool, a mic in one sweaty hand, and a very verbose hard-to-read script in the other. I began painfully enunciating each word on the page that I could not keep still. A few awful minutes in, I realized that this was a poor reflection on the remarkable person she was. I dropped the paper, fixed my grip on the mic, and leaned in on the stool. I talked directly to the audience and regaled them with stories of my awesome grandma. It was great!

Anyone has the ability to tell a story and the gospel is meant to be told by everyone. Paul is simply saying, “I want everyone who hears the gospel to get it”. My script was full of big words, cool imagery, and questionable grammar. When my grandma needed to be honored, however, stories were called for. What are some stories we could tell to honor Jesus and don’t worry about being eloquent!

Jonathan Duncan

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