“The kingdom of the heavens is like…”
Jesus and His spokesmen who wrote the New Testament Scriptures were so full of the gospel truths that it seems everything they saw was a parable to them about how God’s kingdom operates in this fallen world. Trees, farming, shepherding, baking, business, springs of water – on and on the list goes of the things that they related to the kingdom of God and our lives as disciples of Jesus.
“Parable” is a broad term that describes many kinds of figurative language. The word in Greek is a compound word that literally means “throw down beside”. In other words, a parable is a comparison between two things, and Jesus spoke in comparisons constantly as He taught the people of ancient Galilee and Judea. In fact, to some He didn’t teach anything without using parables (Matthew 13:34). The reason He was able to draw so many spot-on comparisons between the realities of God’s kingdom and the natural and social processes of earth was that He so thoroughly understood all of them!
I want to encourage you today, Disciple, to train in your kingdom thinking by practicing some parables of your own. This is a powerful exercise that has shaped me tremendously. And do not make the mistake of thinking that this is just for preachers or teachers who need to come up with clever illustrations for messages! This kind of thinking is helpful when talking to others about eternal and unseen things, but it is also crucial to our own development as kingdom people. When you develop this skill, the Spirit will use it to encourage you virtually anywhere and at any time with His truths. Indeed, every movie you watch or book you read will burst to life with Kingdom truths when this skill is honed!
As an example, let’s say you’re stuck in traffic while commuting to work or during your work day. Perhaps you’re on 322 on your way to or from State College, and there is an accident tying up your side of the highway. Rather than stew and fume, perhaps you might take some time to consider how the situation or your environment reminds you of God’s kingdom.
“Wow, one person’s problem sure can affect a lot of people. This reminds me of how interconnected we all are in God’s world, and how powerful my words and actions really are in other people’s lives! I need to be mindful of how I talk to folks today at work and to my family when I walk into the house…”
For another example, when you lay your head down to sleep tonight, you might be reminded that for the disciple of Jesus death is compared to sleep (see John 11:11-13 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13). I know this may sound a tad morbid, but there’s actually a great deal of real hope in this kind of reflection. Just as you and I go to sleep tonight with the expectation of waking up in (what seems like) no time at all, physical death is a temporary thing! Death no longer wins because Jesus was raised from the dead and we have the promise of being raised from death as well! This isn’t just nice religious sentiment for funerals; this is joyful meditation bookending each day.
What kingdom truths are bursting out of the things you see, hear, and experience everyday, Disciple? Don’t let them be wasted. Take them in, aided by the Holy Spirit within you, and meditate on them. Fill your mind with the Kingdom reality so that it will fill your words, actions, and reactions as well!
Filling my thoughts with the reality of God’s kingdom with you,