Monday, January 21, 2008

Parables

The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Matthew 13:10-11
We've been studying the parables for the last couple of weeks in BSF, which means that my wheels have been spinning so hard that my brain hurts. Even the parables that are explained right in the text cause me to think and apply and marvel at the teaching. Some of the parables like the mustard seed and the pearl of great value are not explained, and we were challenged to think about what we thought they meant.

Which makes me think, with absolutely no disrespect intended, "This Jesus guy really knew what He was doing."

Have you ever noticed that we lose appreciation for what comes easy? By teaching in parables, Jesus has once again pricked my heart. I've had to work a little bit to glean the applications that He has for me, instead of just culling from the abundance that I've been given--church, personal Bible study, group Bible studies, and even listening to sermons on my ipod.

Life is pretty easy for my children. I have little tolerance when they pitch fits because they can't have ice cream for dessert--that in fact they have not been able to have any ice cream in two whole days. It's all I can do to refrain from playing the "there are starving children in Africa" card. But it's not really about Africa, it's about living with abundance, expecting that abundance, and seeing it as a right, not a privilege. There's no appreciation for treats, not to mention three square meals a day, because it comes so easy to them.

The Pharisees, those about whom he was speaking when he said, "Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him," did not have Christ, because they rejected Him. They did have the law. They had a lot of knowledge, but even that was taken from them, because they didn't have enough faith to put the knowledge into practice. The law without a means of salvation is worth nothing at all.

I have to seek to put the seeds that are scattered into practice. I have to plant them and let them grow and respond in obedience and gratitude to Jesus for all that He has given me.

If you want to see what Jesus wants to reveal to you through the parables, read Matthew 13.

5 comments:

heather a. goodman said...

I fear that I more identify with your children than I ought.
When something I'm used to suddenly isn't there, when it goes awry, I throw a temper-tantrum. I may not literally throw myself on the floor anymore (notice I said may not) but I get upset and want what I want how I want it.
I'm used to the abundance.

Stephanie said...

After a VERY abundant Christmas my oldest said he needed more toys to make him happy. Needless to say the answer was no and we talked about how happiness does not come from things.

Thanks for sharing this and making me think.

Org Junkie said...

We just had this same conversation about parables in my bible study. I love how you worded it!

Katrina said...

Great thoughts and insight, Jennifer.

I've been thinking lately about the fact that I enjoy going through devotionals or "easy" (fill-in-the-blank type) Bible studies. But I have a special appreciation for the studies that make me dig deeper, that make me wrestle internally, that lead me to hard-earned nuggets from God's word. I think it's because those studies don't come easy, that they mean so much.

Amy said...

I just found your blog through a link from a friend's post...and was intrigued by this post. As a fellow BSFer I have just spent a week really studying Jesus parables and am amazed! Thanks for sharing! I, too was challenged to really go deeper!