Personalizing the Parables

//Personalizing the Parables

Personalizing the Parables

“If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?”
–1 John 4:20 (NLT)
Many times, we all read the parables of Jesus and stop right there. We may relegate the parables to that time period, or we just get so busy that we don’t let them speak to us in a new way today.
In order to do that, we need to ask what Jesus is telling us through His Word. “That sounds simple,” you may say, but please don’t stop reading.
We can really ask Jesus for the application of His teachings today, but we must truly be willing to listen for His answer. In other words, His stories must become more than yesterday’s news. We must allow them to speak to us in the 21st century.
In order to view their richness, therefore, we must ponder the questions which prompted each parable. For example, let’s personalize the story of the good Samaritan.
Like many of you, my wife and I live in a small apartment where we don’t even know our neighbors. In that light, now that I’ve been thinking about it, the parable of the good Samaritan took on new meaning for me. In other words, it was a real wake-up call.
In spite of the fast-paced world around me, I realized I needed to take a time-out with God. Instead of just looking at the important idea of showing mercy, I needed to ponder the parable-inspiring question which the lawyer asked Jesus–namely, “Who is my neighbor?”
Trying to put myself in his shoes, I had to admit to Jesus that I was totally in the dark. To my chagrin, I learned that I was more like the ignorant priest and the tax collector in this story than the central Samaritan. It’s far too easy for me to get caught up in my own routines, and I look the other way instead of helping others.
This revelation led me to a question. I asked myself, “If you don’t know who your neighbor is, Tim, then how can you meet their needs?”
“Please forgive me, God,” I said as I came to another conclusion. I often had a limited service area as far as my capacity to help people was concerned. I didn’t want to pay roaming charges, so I would stay where it was safe, instead of going out of my way to serve God and others. Oh, I would pay for the international plan, and I would consider problems I should be concerned about, like world hunger.
“But what about stepping outside of my apartment door?” I wondered as I wrote these words. “What will that cost me?” I decided then and there that it was time to make a change.
In our society, we often put our own comfort ahead of the cost of service. That is exactly what I was doing. Could I give up the comfort of being entertained and go next door? Yes, I thought vehemently, as the Good Samaritan parable came alive to me in a shocking new way.
You see, since Jesus said that the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, we can all see this parable in a fresh light. We are the people who have fallen among thieves.
The priest and the Levite are the voices of indifference which call to us from the other side of the road. “Don’t get involved!” they cry. “This is not your problem. You have your own life to worry about.”
But we can also see this parable in another way. First of all, the one who showed mercy in this story was actually Jesus. Scripture says that although He was fully God, He emptied Himself and came to this world in the form of man, His estranged neighbor. Here He stooped down, lifting us from the roadside of futility. Then He poured in the oil and wine of the Holy Spirit, inviting us to comfort others when He said, “Go thou and do likewise.”
We might ask ourselves, however, where we fit in, and the Bible tells us. It says that we can love others because we have first been loved by God, so the parable of the good Samaritan is certainly a challenge to us. It calls us to leave our selfish ways behind, and ask Christ to fill us with compassion for a fallen world, without overlooking the hurting neighbor next door.
I pray that you will heed this challenge, as well as all the other lessons that you find in Jesus’ parables. If you read God’s Word dilligently, you will soon be personalizing these stories in your daily life.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.

By | 2019-11-17T01:41:08+00:00 November 17th, 2019|Faith and Inspiration|0 Comments

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