“Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?”
David Riemer, a friend of mine and fellow arts Board Member, wrote a great book this year titled”, “Get Your Startup Story Straight” (plug: It’s a terrific practical book for entrepreneurs and leaders who want to better tell the story of their organizations, etc.). David tapped into a trend that has emerged over the last 25 years on the importance of storytelling as a way of being an effective communicator and leader. Makes sense to me as no time in history more so than today do we have available to us so many stories (think TV, podcasts, digital print, etc.). We live in an amazing age of storytelling. In the current and future, becoming a master story teller could be the difference between being successful or not.
As I wrote yesterday, Jesus spoke in Parables. Today, we would likely describe it more as “Storytelling”. And make no mistake, Jesus was a brilliant storyteller as evidenced by thousands of people showing up to hear Him speak and teach and thousands of years later people still pouring over and repeating these stories. And, these parables that He spoke in, they couldn’t have been easy for people to grasp just from one hearing. Well, we know this because even the Disciples had to come back and ask for clarifications. And, I don’t think it was just because of what Jesus said about only those who want to believe will understand, it also had to do with the times. Remember, there wasn’t anyone capturing the video, adding closed-captions, handing out sermon notes, following up with daily dissections of the message throughout the week. It was sit, listen, take in what you could remember and go home and talk it out among themselves. I can imagine a family over dinner going through the Parable of the farmer scattering seed, saying, “Okay, there were three kinds of soil, right…who remembers what the first one was?”. What this tells me is that this is why we are to spend our time in God’s Word, diligently and repeatedly because we are given His Parables in written form for us to digest daily, like nourishment and seeds that can grow within us. We might not understand the first time and I don’t think God has that expectation, but we are to do our best to dig in and find the deepest understanding that we can.
Reference: Mark 4:13 (New Living Translation)