Telling a story is all about timing.  Think of tossing a steak on the barbecue.  Leave it too long and it’s like the morality play that hits you over the head, again and again.  Take it off too soon and it’s raw, with two-dimensional characters rushing through an obstacle course to an unsatisfying resolution.  The challenge is knowing when the pacing is perfectly matched to audience tastes.

People are storytellers.  Whether our tales describe the fish that got away or detail the idiotic escapades of someone we dislike, all our experiences exist in the same sphere of creation.  We have an inner drive that compels us to share the highs and lows of life with family and friends — with varying degrees of embellishment.

On the flip side, nearly everyone enjoys listening to a good story.  If we didn’t, there would be no need for movies or novels, short stories or plays.

More than entertaining us for a few hours, stories enrich our lives.  Ironic twists to an engaging plot, characters driven by lust or greed and the consequences of their actions feed our understanding of ethics and justice.  Perhaps that’s why Jesus used stories to teach profound lessons about the human experience.