Why do we tell stories? Stories have power and have an effect beyond the words of the story. Stories shape our experience of the world; they shape us in that world. Sometimes, stories dream of a world that could be or might be. Everyone leans in when stories are told. So, why did Jesus tell stories? For all the reasons above, no doubt. Something is happening when Jesus tells stories, something beyond the words of the stories themselves. Even when the words are hard to hear. Let’s face it, sometimes talking with Jesus is a difficult task. Or maybe we should say, listening to Jesus can sometimes be hard. Jesus has a way of getting to difficult, hard-to-hear issues quickly and easily. Sometimes it is in a story where he is revealing to us our own secret sins; other times, it is the answer to a question that catches us in our prejudice or blindness. Sometimes, it is a teaching that we struggle to wrap our heads around. These are his words – words we believe are valuable, words with which we need to wrestle, words that we need, somehow, to learn to live by. Jesus is asking us to count the cost, to consider the radical change, the radical difference we are called to make, and to live in a world with different priorities.