In His Right Mind
By Marty Norman –
Story telling is a gift. Some people have it and some don’t. I don’t, though secretly I’ve wished for it since I was a child. I just never felt equipped.
That’s why, when invited to join a Bible Study on Story Telling, my first reaction was a resounding, “Are you kidding. No. Not me – it’s not my cup of tea.”
“Why, it’s right up your alley”, my friend argued pressing her point again and again. Finally she just wore me out. Relenting, I joined the group to please her. My plan: attend a couple of sessions then fade away.
Scripture tells us that “blessed are they who hear the word and obey”, Luke 11:28 NIV . It also tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message.” Romans 10:17 NIV. Story telling is based on that premise. The purpose: to learn the age-old tradition of story telling practiced by the patriarchs and early civilizations from the American Indian to the Himalayan people groups. Based on biblical tradition, the good news of the gospel is told through oral tradition, so different from our modern way of video, reading and visual aids.
Was I ever surprised?
The first class was titillating, exciting, challenging and even more so, definitely my cup of tea. Transfixed I sat mesmerized as Sharon, the leader, told the Story of Jesus and The Demoniac. The story was more than familiar; I’d read it numerous times but hearing it told in this manner brought a whole new perspective.
Literally, I visualized the demoniac cutting himself with stones and throwing fits. I could see the 2000 pigs as they raced to the lake and drowned. I joined the herdsmen as they stood amazed at what they saw.
The turning point hit me hard. When the townspeople saw the demoniac “dressed and in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus” they became afraid. Suddenly I understood the aversion of many to the truth of the gospel. When faced with the might and power of this man Jesus people are afraid. They wonder what kind of man this is that heals a demoniac from evil spirits. They shy away from one who commands the wind and waves to cease. They see the demoniac’s transformation and understand that being in a right mind is all about being in a right relationship with God.
Somewhere deep inside, the question lurks for the hearer. If the demoniac changed, even though in a good way, he might also have to change and he doesn’t want to. As a people we like our habits, even if they are harmful to us or to others. We are all just comfortable in our ways. We are only willing to change when we are desperate. The demoniac was desperate. He was not only open but willing.
In a mysterious way the story of the demoniac, when told without visual aid, reached deep into the hearts of the hearers in a profound way. Perhaps that’s why Jesus told so many stories and parables perhaps because they speak to the heart and bring about changed lives.
This is such a story. The demoniac experienced healing, power, love and mercy. As a result, he ends up in his right mind in a right relationship with the Father, through the power of Jesus Christ.
If that’s not a perfect cup of tea – I don’t know what is.