An online devotional for writers
The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story. (2 Samuel 12:1, NLT)
Nathan was an Old Testament prophet … and a masterful storyteller.
God sent Nathan to confront King David about his relationship with Bathsheba and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah.
But the confrontation was not a sheer recitation of facts. Instead, God had Nathan tell the story of two men: a rich man who had many sheep and cattle, and a poor man who owned just a single lamb.
Nathan used plenty of sensory details in his story. The poor man cuddled the lamb. The lamb ate from the poor man’s own plate. As you read the story in 2 Samuel 12, you fall in love with the lamb yourself.
Then, Nathan explained to David, the rich man took the lamb and killed it out of convenience.
Nathan’s story had the appropriate effect: David was furious. The storyteller had painted a vivid picture which allowed David to experience the poor man’s loss vicariously. The experience was so emotional for David that it led to action. When Nathan revealed the truth – that David represented the rich man and Uriah represented the poor man – David repented.
“Stories must give listeners an emotional experience if they are to ignite a call to action,” says Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber, whose films have garnered 50 Academy Award nominations.
A storyteller helps us to feel an experience firsthand.
Storytelling helps readers to feel an experience firsthand.
Your Word is filled with stories that I have not experienced firsthand, but nevertheless allow me to “be there.” Let me use stories to give my readers vicarious experiences and move them to act.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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Content by award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse, who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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