I Love to Tell the Story by Merrill Leong

I Love to Tell the Story
Of unseen things above
Of Jesus and his glory
Of Jesus and his love
I love to tell the story
Because I know ’tis true
It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and his love

I became a Christian at the age of 17, when I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as Lord and Saviour. I did so because the stories about Jesus and his teachings made perfect sense to me.

As Jim Eliot (martyred missionary) said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” I embraced Jesus because I didn’t want to be a fool.

Earlier in my life I was sent secretly to Sunday School for a year by my mum because my dad was dead against the church even though he was a member of the Wesley Methodist Church. My mum did so when my dad was sent by the government to attend a teachers’ training course in England.

My teenage years were spent indulging in hobbies of all kinds like aero modelling and photography, but there was hardly any spiritual education… except for when a newsletter from the local Wesley Methodist Church came pleading for funds. That’s when I’d receive a short lecture from my dad about the uselessness of the church.

The Wesley Methodist Church today is a dynamic church and not at all like what it used to be. In those days the Bible was not taught and not seen and some churches even had liberal pastors who didn’t believe in the virgin birth.

Then a Baptist Church building was built nearby to my house. Spiritually curious because of my Sunday School experience, I visited the place and was introduced to a book I’ve heard about but never read before… the Bible. Well, there was my grandma’s Chinese Bible, but then, I couldn’t read Chinese.

And in reading the Bible I discovered Jesus.

Jesus’ personality and character were unusual, and his life made for one who was attractive in a special way, challenging one to either hate him or love him. I chose to love him.

And what a great impact the story of Jesus had on me.

Yes, there were some discrepancies in the gospels, but the differences were minor and in no way change the main story… the miracles, the healings and his power to control the weather all authenticated Jesus as the Son of God, the Son of Man.

Jesus’ mastery of situations was most interesting and impressive, and especially so when it came to dealing with religious bigots. Being relatively radical myself, I found this refreshing, especially since I was brought up to be cynical towards religion.

His life was always to lift up the down trodden, the poor, widows and orphans… traits that were typical of God throughout the Old Testament. To those who were genuinely looking for truth, Jesus was always showing the way with stories of daily life and parables. Casual onlookers wouldn’t get to learn anything.

Jesus told stories and taught in parables. Parables were meant to hide spiritual truths from those who were not serious with spiritual things, but contain deep truths for those who were. It was always a delight to discover the truth each time one reads about Jesus anew.

It is a little wonder I love to tell the story of Jesus. Telling them is like cooking up and eating a delicious meal; or admiring a great work of art; or listening to a great piece of music; or singing a song; or capturing a beautiful photograph; or falling in love.

It brings delight to whoever hears the stories, except for those who are dead set against Jesus, like those who are full of their own self righteousness. To these, Jesus would unleash his full indignation by scolding them and pointing out their hypocrisy.

Jesus would call the religious hypocrites “a brood of vipers” and “whitewashed tombstones”… those who worshiped mammon, emphasised on dietary requirements, the days to worship and apparels to wear. All these emphasised on the outer form of prosperity instead of worshiping God in spirit and truth.

Worshiping God in spirit and truth means worshiping him with a clean heart and living a life doing good… not some special exercises like making strange noises and jumping about. True worship means being kind and generous and compassionate.

How I love the encounters he had with the religious folks when he turned the tables on marketeers and preachers of worldly prosperity, selling trinkets and other useless junkets. These only enriched licensed hawkers and concessionaires who made exorbitant profits.

I love to tell the stories of Jesus because they are trustworthy and real to life… scenes by the wayside, of tradesmen and tax collectors… tales of the sea… tales of storms and catching fish.

And it is not only to seekers and young ones to whom the story is told…

I love to tell the story
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest
And when in scenes of glory
I sing the new, new song
‘Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long

Through telling the old, old story, my father himself one day too found Jesus and his love.

It is more than 50 years since I first heard the story told, and I am still thrilled each time I hear it… and even more excited telling it. The story is simply so endearing and yes, so enduring.

I love to tell the story
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and his love

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