As Mark said Jesus used many stories to get across the message about God and His kingdom. Every story he used was composed using images and examples that Jesus knew they’d understand.
But, some of them must have been somewhat difficult to figure out because Mark also tells us that when Jesus was just with his disciples he went over all the stories again explaining everything to them. Eugene Petersen paraphrased it as “sorting out tangles, untying the knots.”
Most of us have heard the stories Jesus told a few times and like Mark said he created these stories that fit their experience and maturity. So, that got me to thinking about what kind of stories Jesus might tell us. What kind of stories would he craft that would fit our experiences and maturity? How do you think he would explain God and his kingdom to us today?
I think that he could still tell us the stories using the seeds and the planting of them and we’d understand. We know what he’s talking about there. I put seeds in the ground in the spring never knowing if they’ll germinate or not. Some of my seeds are old. So, I plant them and then leave it up to God to provide the energy and the moisture and whatever else that seed needs to grow into a plant that produces fruit that Linda and I can eat and be nourished by it.
There’s a whole lot of trust and faith that goes into planting a garden. I think that’s what Jesus was trying to explain to the folks with his story about the farmer and the planting of his field and the other story about the smallness of the pine seed and yet it’s able to grow into a very tall tree.
He was trying to help his listeners, and us, understand that God’s kingdom is a lot like that. Think about it for a minute.
God sent Jesus. He began life just like you and me, as a baby. He was nurtured and cared for by a Mom and a Dad just like you and me. He went to school and learned about things just like you and me.
Then, when he grew into a man he’s baptized by his cousin John, tempted in the wilderness by Satan, calls disciples to follow him, changes water into wine, makes people well who’d never expected to be able to walk or see or live with their families ever again, and he told stories so people would understand about God, His father, our father. He planted seeds.
And look what’s happened. The stories are still being told. Seeds of faith are still being planted. People are still being made whole and well again who never expected it to happen to them.
So, what I want to leave you all with this evening is this. What kind of stories are you telling that help people to know God and to know about His kingdom? What kind of seeds are you planting and have you noticed any of them sprouting?
What’s that favorite saying that Mark recorded that Jesus said so many times at the end of his stories? “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Or “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Good friends, I believe God has called us, his children, to tell stories just like Jesus did. And I don’t believe we are required to be ordained by the church to do it. You, and I, are called to tell stories that will enable people to come to know God and His Son and His Holy Spirit. We are called to share our stories to help people understand that there is more for us than just this life we’re experiencing here, way more.
So, it doesn’t matter that we may be 60 or 80 or 90 years old. God has given us stories to tell and people to tell them to and we should be doing that. But, in order to do it well we need to know the stories Jesus told the people of his day. The only way we’re going to really know and understand those stories is by keeping our noses in God’s word. And by asking our pastors and our friends for help with the parts we struggle to understand.
So, our work here still isn’t over. God has called us to tell stories and we all know that some are better story tellers than others but God really doesn’t care. There’s someone out there who needs to hear the story you have to tell and if you haven’t told it yet well, you’d better get to it. Because none of us knows when God might call us home.
Good friends, God loves you and so do I. Amen.