My younger brother, Chris, has been in the hospital lately in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Since my oldest son, Ron, lives just outside of Martinsburg, I called him to tell him about his uncle and I asked that he go by to visit with Chris to check on him.
Ron went that very afternoon. Apparently, Ron’s visit encouraged Chris, because Chris got into telling stories about his oldest brother — me. Chris can tell a good story, for sure. He identified one story in particular as one he really liked to tell on me.
We grew up in a house located along the tail end of Trout Run in Wardensville, W.Va. About 150 yards from the house, Trout Run ran into the Capon River. Several large and stately sycamore trees lined the bank along our property line.
According to Chris, I had surreptitiously purchased some fireworks. Dad had strictly forbidden us boys from buying and setting off fireworks. Dad was an insurance salesman, and his long day of the week was on Thursday. Apparently, that made for a good time for me to set off some fireworks.
Chris spied me behind one of the sycamores along the water’s edge. He wanted in on the action, too. So, he walked across the flat to where I was, and asked if I would let him light a firecracker. When I refused, he said that he would tell Dad.
Hearing that threat, I must have thought better about letting him share in my fun. I told him that I would let him light one, but I was going to throw it. He lit a match and applied the fire to the fuse. But, instead of touching off the tip-end of the fuse, he started the burn-off right down at the bottom.
It caught me off guard. It exploded near my hand before I could get it cleared with adequate distance. Chris said, “It made Ronnie real mad. He chased me for a long time. If he would have caught up with me, he would have beaten the snot out of me.”
Ron laughed the whole time as he related to me the story Chris had told him. He said he could imagine my reaction, and me chasing after Uncle Chris for retaliation.
Most of us have stories we especially like to tell others. But, for people associated with the church, the story we should really like telling should be about Jesus Christ. There are many Biblical examples of people liking to tell others about their experience with the Savior.
For example, the woman at the well was so impressed with her spontaneous conversation with the Lord and her subsequent salvation experience that she really liked telling others about the Lord. She “went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a man, which told me all things that I ever did. Is not this the Christ?’”
Can you not imagine that one of the blind men healed by Jesus really liked to tell the part, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
The Apostle Paul must have really liked telling the story how he met the Lord on the Damascus Road. The Book of Acts records Paul telling the story at least three times. But, one can be rather sure that he really liked telling others what Christ did for him that day when he was in route to Damascus.
Three stories I really like telling concerning my relationship to Jesus Christ have to do with the day I got saved, when I freed the stuck coon hound from the fallen log, and about the day that I cut my leg with the chainsaw. In each of these accountings, I really like drawing a bee-line to my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Tell the story of Jesus Christ, His Death, His Resurrection. Let that be your favorite story to tell. If you have other stories you like to tell, associate them with the power and blessings that come from Jesus Christ.
In the meantime, I absolutely do not remember anything about setting off firecrackers down along the run. But, apparently Chris liked telling it, and Ron liked hearing it. Some stories you just cannot live down.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.