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The pastor of stern countenance began his sermon by saying solemnly, "I am not here to entertain you with a lot of interesting stories; I am here to preach the Word of God."

He proved to be prophetic. He was neither entertaining nor interesting. As a matter of fact, he was quite dull. Like so many who lack the imagination to use good illustrations, he condemned their use as a vice, their nonuse as a virtue.

In vilifying the use of stories in preaching, he was unwittingly criticizing a style used most frequently by a well-known itinerate of the first century. Evidently no one ever warned that former carpenter it was a sin to be entertaining and that solemnity was a sign of sanctity. Having never been to seminary, he never mastered alliteration either.

So he resorted to the only style he knew, which was to relate homey, human-interest stories-what we call parables. He told stories about families, farmers, fishermen, and financiers. Some of his stories were quite humorous. There was the one ...

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