When we train isolated church leaders on how to share Bible stories with others, we often bump into worldviews that get challenged by the Word of God.
Manuel, a national missionary was visiting an indigenous community in Costa Rica when he noticed a particular rooster was tied up to a tree and not allowed to roam around. He asked someone about it and was told it was because the rooster had been picking on chicks and chickens in recent days. If allowed to go on, the people believed that a snake would soon bite someone in the community. As a result, the rooster needed to be tied up otherwise someone would be injured and die.
The superstitious practice was challenged when the story of Paul on the island of Malta in Acts 28 was presented during our training on Bible storytelling. In the story, a snake fastens itself to Paul’s hand while he is gathering a pile of brushwood. Consequently, the islanders accuse Paul of being a murderer because they view this as a sign that Paul has done something prior to his arrival to Malta. During our small group discussion, Manuel asked the pastor if he who could share his observation about the rooster being tied to a tree and he then began to comment on the similarities of the two. Later, I asked the group how the islanders might have felt about Paul after the snake gripped his hand. It was clear that fear was what drove them to blame Paul for being a murderer and it was also fear that caused the community to tie up a rooster to a tree. In verse 5 of Acts 28, Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. Paul’s display of faith and confidence as he shrugged off the snake spoke volumes to the men and women in the indigenous community.
Later that evening, we prayed for a couple that was expecting their third child. The father told us he had been battling nightmares and strange visions at night. The story shared earlier that day came up in the conversation. “Don’t forget, fear is not from God. It makes us weak but God makes us strong,” said the pastor to the couple before we closed in prayer.
The amazing insights that are found inside the Word of God have the power to shape the mind and heart of every believer.