Text: Mark 4:1-41, Amos 4:13
My childhood house is on the market. (It still feels weird to say it.) On my favorite mountain, yes. On the street lined with elm trees, certainly. On school bus 24’s route, always. But on the market—for sale, like a cup of lemonade from the neighbor’s kid? No, thank you.
This is probably why homeowners aren’t invited to the Open House. It would just be too hard to let go. Still, I can’t help but want to give prospective buyers some helpful hints as to how to live in the house. Perhaps, I’d offer them a sticky note tour.
Welcome to our—er, potentially your—new home! I’d write. Don’t worry about taking off your shoes; the puppy’s ruined the carpet already anyway.
Here’s where we keep the plates. Silverware can be found in the drawer on the left, and the trash can’s under the sink.
My dad stoned in that fireplace the summer before I started high school, and my mom made the quilt draped over the couch the summer I graduated college.
Make sure you leave this door open for the cat, and help yourself to snacks. (I hide the chocolate in the top right cabinet.) Keep the front door closed so you don’t let the raccoons in! (I’m serious.)
It’s then that I realize what I’ve tried so hard to forget: the house they’ll be moving into won’t have snacks or cats or hand-me-down china or my mother’s quilts. They won’t be joining my family in the house. After we move out, the sticky notes won’t make any sense.
Initially, some of Jesus’ parables don’t make much sense either. As He talks about sowing and mustard seeds, I imagine the onlookers wondering how in the world any of it applied to faith. So, why did Jesus tell parables? Was He making His lessons easier to comprehend? Was He avoiding complicated theology? No, Jesus was actually choosing to not let them understand.
“To those outside, everything comes in parables so that they may look and look, yet not perceive; they may listen and listen, yet not understand; otherwise, they might turn back—and be forgiven.”
Jesus’ instructions were meant for those living in His house—His Father’s house, the Kingdom of God. The secret of the Kingdom God isn’t a story or an equation, but a person. And a story without Him, the main character, isn’t a story, but a parable.
When listeners don’t see Jesus as the entrance to the Kingdom, or are out to manipulate His words, He creates a fence around His house by telling a parable. Jesus proves that you don’t arrive at the Truth by becoming smarter, wealthier, or more important; you find Truth by following Him to His house!
As for His disciples, Christ never leaves them hanging. He’s always willing to explain the parables when asked and reassure them with Truth. Privately, He would explain everything to them (Mark 4:10). The Harvest has come. It is Me. I am here. Do not fear.
As Christ’s followers, we get to live in that house with a protective fence and no need for sticky notes because we have His Word, filled with all we’ll ever need know. Thanks be to God!
“He is here: the One who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, the One who makes the dawn out of darkness and strides on the heights of the earth.
Yahweh, the God of Hosts, is His name.”