“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.”—Matthew 13:34
My favorite T-shirt is one I bought several years ago at the Storyline Conference I attended. On the front it simply says Story Matters.
In the verse above, I love the reminder that Jesus used parables all the time in order to convey and illustrate the message he came to teach us. He knew we would retain information better if it wasn’t just a list of facts.
Story, and the pictures they give us, help to bring important lists to life.
Jesus, the teacher, didn’t just command crowds to do this or to not do that as he taught them how to love. Instead, He gave them school pictures to store in the wallets of their minds and hearts and to carry along with them on their journeys.
Want to know what I mean when I say love your neighbor? Here’s a picture.
Want to know what I mean when I say love your enemy? Here’s a picture.
Want to know what I mean when I say take care of the poor, the widow, the oppressed, the outcast, the marginalized? Here’s a picture.
Want to know what I mean when I say welcome the stranger? Here’s a picture.
This morning, as I thought more about all the stories Jesus shared with us to help us on our journey to love others, I had this thought:
Those pictures are still in our possessions. It’s time to take those pictures out of our wallets again, to study them again, to retrace each image with our index finger, and remember.