Some stories help us see hidden meanings

Rev. Raymond Maher

 

Yesterday, I told Ed that I was thinking of “Aesop’s Fables” for children. These stories by Aesop, a Greek slave of around 620 BC, convey messages hidden in the story. After each fable, Aesop would reveal a meaning that the story taught by its events. Aesop’s Fables are called timeless stories with a moral.

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Ed and I were talking about books and stories that we hope our grandchildren will still read today and enjoy as we did when we were kids. Ed made sure to give “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" to his grandchildren in the hopes they would read it. It seems hard for books to compete with movies, video games, computers, tablets and cellphones, but we believe good books can still thrill our grandchildren today.

In the Bible, Jesus taught by parables. His parables were simple, timeless stories of human characters in various life situations. Simply put, Jesus used earthly stories about people to teach heavenly truths. Everyone might not understand the spiritual truth that Jesus wanted his listeners to grasp. Some listening to Jesus were skeptical or unbelieving, and they would miss the deeper meaning of Jesus's parable. Jesus said that some though seeing, do not see, and though they hear, they do not understand. Jesus referred to the words of Isaiah, which speak of peoples hearts becoming calloused, which results in them hardly hearing, and their eyes are closed.

One of the most famous of the parables of Jesus is often called the Parable of the Sower, which is found in Matthew Chapter 13. Jesus tells this parable:

“A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose, they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some 60, some 30. He who has ears, let him hear.”

The best explanation of this parable is by Jesus himself found in the same chapter Mathew 13:18- 23. Among the countless explanations of the parable that are not by Jesus, I offer this one.

God is the sower, and the seed is His word cast on the soil in the hearts of people.

Some folks have hard hearts. Birds quickly eat seeds on a hard path. God’s word is quickly snatched away by the devil when it lands on hard hearts.

Some folks have rocky hearts meaning little depth of soil. God’s word sprouts in shallow hearts but cannot develop good deep roots and quickly dies when under extreme heat or stress.

Some folks have divided hearts with both the right plants and thorns growing there. At any time, the thorns may choke out the right plants. God’s word cannot endure in a divided heart.

Some folks are wholehearted in good soil. They hear the word of God and understand it. God’s word grows in them, producing excellent yields of faith in their lives.

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