Life flies by so fast!
My earliest memory is lying on a blanket outside as a baby, in the front yard of our house in Whitefish, Montana. We were just 2 blocks from the railroad, where my dad worked. It was a very nice day. The most vivid point of that memory is our family dog licking my face, and I felt so loved. I don’t have a lot of memories from that time of my life; but isn’t it interesting that I could draw conclusions from what was happening to me even while being so young!
Life, I think, is full of parables, if we can slow down long enough to see what’s going on. What expression just sparked through a loved ones’ countenance? Why? Our child just said what? The garden yielded what? My thought life just pondered what? That pot of soup to a sick friend. The joke. The ambulance ride. The hike. The sunset.
Sometimes I think God was “jumping and yelling” and I didn’t tune in enough to see the jewels placed right at my feet. Other times, I just ignored them. After all, if I chose to stop and “see” what God was showing me; I’d have to do something with it. Sometimes I get lazy, or just plain don’t want to change, or act. You?
Jesus spoke often in parables, and did so quite purposely. We hear Jesus Christ say in several places “He who has ears, let him hear…”
The parable is a way to speak to people about God or the “things of God” like righteousness, truth, peace, etc., without using the Name of God or quoting scripture directly. It uses things or situations the receiver easily understands to point to God (His Person, character, or other attributes) but doesn’t directly introduce God into the story. Often they use stand-ins for God, like the woman sweeping her whole house looking for one lost coin.
Lk 15:8-10 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” NKJV
Or, like the book of Esther. God’s Name is not once mentioned, but we understand much about God through the words and deeds of both Esther and Mordecai, as well as the king. We see God as an ardent proponent of His People. A provider, a defender, a long and short-term planner, and a friend and mentor to the faithful. We also see God giving choices, and pausing before His next move – to allow us to choose to follow; to sway us, rather than force us.
Est 4:13-17 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him. NKJV
So, then, the hearer of a parable, once the story is finished, chooses to respond – to engage, or not, but the “teller” has done their job. Jesus spoke in parables to those not in his inner circle all the time. They had permission to follow Him into the Kingdom of Heaven, or to walk away.
Mt 13:34-35 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” NKJV
But there’s more…of course there’s more! There is the moment of bliss when you, having chosen to engage with Holy Spirit, have your mind opened to new things. That deeply personal bonding; being drawn closer to each other because God reached out to you in a moment of time, or words from a friend. Maybe it’s a place of renewal as you see something new in a verse you’ve read many times.
Pr 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. NKJV
The parable is a whisper, not a shout, or a direct “hit.” The epiphany that follows can certainly shake you, though!
1 Ki 19:11-13 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” NKJV
A parable is a gilded box full of wondrous gifts. You just need the desire, and the drive to open it. To watch, listen, be engaged with what is happening around you.
God is speaking – showing you things every day. Be sure to stay tuned in, watching for His parables.
September 4, 2021