Hitting the Bulls-Eye
A preacher was well known for the stories he told in his sermons. The parables he told and examples he used almost always fit the message he was trying to deliver to his congregation. One day one of the church elders, an older leader in the church, asked him, “Pastor, how do you always seem to have the perfect stories and parables to use with your messages? They are always on the mark.”
The pastor answered, “Since you used the word ‘mark’ I will explain how I come up with my stories by telling a story. Once there was an archer in the king’s army. The archer was very good at using his bow and was able to hit targets of almost any size and at almost any distance. He won every archery contest he entered. He was a fine soldier. Still, he practiced hours every day to keep improving his skills.
One day when the archer was riding across the kingdom he saw targets painted on the side of a barn. In the center of each target was an arrow sitting in the middle of the bulls-eye. Never had the archer seen such shooting. Even as great as he was, the archer did not always hit the exact centers of his targets. He was impressed.
The archer had to know who it was that could shoot with such accuracy. He rode is a circle around the barn in a path that went wider and wider until at last he saw a barefoot young man. The young man had a bow in his hands and a quiver of arrows on his back. “Young man,” called the archer. “I must know who shot the arrows that are stuck in the barn wall.”
“I shot the arrows,” said the boy.
“Who taught you to shoot so well?” asked the archer. “I must know who taught you the skills of the bow.”
“I taught myself,” said the boy. “I just shoot an arrow at the wall and paint a target around it.”
The church leader laughed at the story. Then the pastor said, “That is how I come up with my stories. I don’t look for stories to support my messages. Instead, every time I hear a story I like I file it away in my brain. I save the stories until I need them to prove my point. Then I weave my sermon around them.