“Daddy, what do you do all day?”

Dutch Family

Family Self Portrait by Erasmus Quellinus (1635)
Cincinnati Museum of Art
Photo by Russell Smith

“Daddy, what do you do all day?”

“I help people know Jesus.”

“How do you do that?”

“Well, sweetheart, you could say that I’m a storytellerI tell stories about God.   In sermons, articles, blog posts, the books that I write, even in the bedtime stories I tell you.  Sometimes they’re stories about people who are lost and then are found.  Other times they’re stories that show the wonder of God’s creation.  Maybe the story presents a big problem that has to be solved or a hero who has to learn something.  Sometimes the stories don’t even mention God, but don’t worry, He’s in the background of all of them.”

“Why do you tell all these stories, daddy?”

“I want to be an encourager to people, sweetie.  When I tell these stories, I’m pointing out reasons for hope.  Maybe my stories can help people see things in a new way, comfort them in their pain, or help them trust they’re doing the right thing.  I encourage in other ways, too.  I meet with people and listen to their stories: their fears and their hopes, their pains and their pride, their dreams and their despair.  I ask lots of questions.  If I can, I help by connecting them to someone else I know, sharing a story of encouragement, or simply praying with them.”

“Wow.  You must have a lot of stories.”

“I sure do.  I know stories from history, the movies, great books, biographies, and of course the stories that people tell me.   I use the stories of the Bible and the stories about the heroes and heroines of the church.  I’m always on the lookout to see where God is at work in the world.  It doesn’t have to be just stories: I see God’s hand in nature, science, art, music, and many other places.  You could say I collect all kinds of inspiring things.  And then, when I see a need, I dip into my collection to find something helpful.  I’m like a museum curator who oversees a huge collection of great art, and who brings out the best and most interesting pieces for the visitors to enjoy.  So, you could say that I’m a curator of inspiration.”

“That sounds like a lot of fun.  But daddy, I have a question.”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“Can you tell me a story?”

“Sure can.  Once upon a time there was a little girl….”

4 thoughts on ““Daddy, what do you do all day?”

  1. Russell, since Jesus was a story teller of story tellers, you are on the right track. Nothing better than telling a great story to get someone’s attention. I also tell stories, in my artwork. Thanks for sending me this. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Candis, thanks so much for your kind comment. I read your story on your website- what a testimony of perseverance and faith. Keep on telling great stories of hope through your art… You are a blessing.

  2. Russell,

    I too am a pastor and last year I was invited to my children’s kindergarten class to share what I do for a living. All the dads were invited (and moms too) each week to talk about what they do. As the week of my turn approached, I paid attention to the things I heard my children sharing from the other dads. They were even bringing home souvenirs. A banker gave them each some money, the insurance agent a calendar, and a sales representative some pens and other giveaway stuff. I wondered how I would tell the children what I do…

    So I too landed on storytelling. I brought a couple of my favorite books and read (actually told) the stories using the pictures. It was a hit, and they understood immediately. The high compliment of the day was a friend of my son who asked him later if he could come over sometime so he could hear another story.

    Thanks for reminding me again of what I do. Listen to the stories of my neighbors in order to see how the story of Jesus interacts with their story, and together we all are changed by the great story of God’s love called the Gospel.


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