Recently on our trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, I heard a phrase that was oft repeated by the local Hawaiians: “talk story.” They do not tell stories, they talk stories. At the heart of the difference between these two phrases is relationship. Whether meeting someone new or greeting a longtime friend, talking stories is an exchange that takes place between two people who share their stories. It’s about connecting on a deeper level with someone. It’s the social interaction of storytelling that becomes an event. It is stopping long enough to hear another’s story and then share your own. Talking stories emphasizes the importance of people and their life stories and the relationship that can develop because of shared stories.
This concept is not new but has been around for centuries. Moses wrote about it in Deuteronomy. David wrote about it in Psalms. Joshua wrote about it in Joshua. The Bible is full of encouragement for us to “talk stories.”
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk to them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. “ (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Hear, teach, and talk are the commands that God gives to the children of Israel. They are to hear, pay attention to this very important commandment. Love God with every part of your being.
My question is, “How do we practically live this out in our every day lives?”
I often wonder if a tape recorder was attached to me and recorded my every word for a week, could anyone listen to what I had to say and know that I love God. What would my verbal testimony be on a daily basis?
These verses in Deuteronomy 6 are very clear about what the average of our words should be: love God with all your being. Now the stated obvious is if my life does not match my words than my words are null and void.
As I have purposed to make my time with the Lord more meaningful over the last months, I have also tried to be purposeful in sharing with our daughters about this journey I am on. I want them to know that walking with Christ every day is not always easy. Sometimes, my heart tells me one thing and my head filled with the knowledge of Scripture tells me something else. Sometimes, my thoughts are not Scriptural and the Holy Spirit must do His work and remind me of the faithfulness of my Savior.
The key point I want to emphasize is this: Talk about your journey with the Lord. Talk stories so that as you are sharing with someone else what God is doing in your life, they also want to share with you what God is doing in their life.
“O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you have performed in their days in the days of old. In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to Your name forever.” (Psalm 44:1, 8).
We are reminded by the Psalmist again, that what God has done should be rehearsed before the children. Sometime during the four hundred year captivity of the Israelites in Egypt, they forgot to rehearse what God had done for them. The children did not hear their parents “talk stories” at the end of their long days working for Pharaoh. Somewhere along the way in their journey in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, they forgot to rehearse with their children all the great things God had done for them. The children did not hear their parents “talk stories” around the camp fires at night. We see this evidenced in their frequent bent to complaining and their lack of trust in God to provide for them.
I have found that as I rehearse these stories of God’s faithfulness to me, it is not just about telling others (especially our daughters) it is also a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness. When I share what God has done for me with others, it reminds me as well of what He has done.
If God is not working in our lives, then there is nothing to share. If our time with the Lord is more about checking the box rather than deepening our relationship with Him, then there will be nothing to share.
“But His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, in all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2, 3).
The fruit on the tree comes from the depth of the roots. The stories we rehearse with our children and those around us come from the depth of our relationship with God. So many heroes of the faith we could use as examples that shared with us about their walk with the Lord. George Mueller has become my favorite because he wrote in his autobiography what a daily intimate walk with the Lord looks like. The ups and downs. The trials and the blessings. He doesn’t hide behind a pretense. As I read his autobiography, I saw for the first time what a genuine daily walk with the Lord really looks like lived out in a day by day way. My heart’s desire is to be that to my daughters and others I come in contact with. God has given me a story to tell, and if I do not share what He has done in my life then I am not only being disobedient, I am also denying Him the glory due to His name. God desires for us to “talk stories.”
“I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.” (Psalms 45:17)