For the past several weeks on Tuesday mornings, John Mark and I (Jake) have been meeting with our Tuesday breakfast and devotional group to discuss the parables of Jesus. We have mostly been focusing on the parables found in Matthew’s Gospel, but occasionally we will look to Luke’s Gospel too. As we have been reading these parables, I have been reminded that the parables that Jesus tells help us to enter a new world that Jesus is creating. A world that Jesus is inviting us into that isn’t quite like the world that we see on a daily basis. It’s a world where the smallest things make the biggest impact. It’s a world where the people who are forgiven learn how to forgive others even when they don’t want to do that very hard work. It’s a world where we find the treasure of knowing who God really is, and we are willing to give up everything else for it!
Not only was I reminded that Jesus has created this alternate world through his teaching with the parables, but I was also reminded that we are invited into this new world. That we are supposed to help bring that new world to this one. That when Jesus teaches us to pray in the sermon on the mount, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” that isn’t just something to say when we talk to God, but it is something that we should be doing. That when we plant little seeds (or more likely, when we realize that God has done the planting within us), we are open to the growth that Jesus invites us to. That when we discover a treasure in a field, that we are willing to give up anything and everything for the sake of that treasure.
You see, the parables require action. They require our action. They invite us to participate with the world that God is creating through Jesus even in the midst of a world that is filled with competition and comparisons. The parables are more than just moral teachings. They are invitations to help bring heaven to earth, to show the world who God really is in Jesus, and to invite others into that journey of following and loving God as we seek to love our neighbors as ourselves.