This is the third in a series of guest posts on Patheos.com where I re-imagine Jesus’ five big sermons as TED Talks, in which he Educates people in God’s new Design for a world that runs on the Technology called love. This post is an interpretive paraphrase of Matthew 13.
I often get asked: Since parables are so easy to misunderstand, why do I use them so much? Why risk being misunderstood?
Here’s the thing: I’m not interested in being understood by everybody; I am interested in being engaged by the few who are willing to think.
If you’re too grown-up and sophisticated to bother with childish stories about farmers and fish, then I’m frankly not interested in being understood by you. If you’re ready to hear and think things through with me, then you will understand. If you’re not, you won’t.
That’s sad, but it’s okay. I’m like a crazy farmer, running around town and throwing seeds all over the place. Most of the seeds will never sprout, but a few of those seeds will find good soil and yield a crop a hundred times greater than the number of seeds I started with. Seeds are tiny, but they can grow into giant trees. It’s exponential, like a little yeast worked into a big bunch of dough.
There was this farmer with a wheat field so full of weeds, he couldn’t pull the weeds without uprooting the wheat. So he let them grow side-by-side until harvest-time. Then he mowed them all down, took the wheat into his barn, and threw the weeds on the burning pile. Like wheat and weeds, good and evil exist side-by-side in this world, but only until the harvest.
If you have ears, listen: The harvest is coming. Our civilization is built on theft, rape, and murder, and it is about to destroy itself. Not one stone left on another.
When the Son of Man sits on the throne of the world, it means the end of beastly empires. Eventually, the Reality bell tolls for every single one; they get plucked out by the root and thrown onto the trash heap of history, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There is only one way to transcend the constant rise and fall of worlds. I am offering that Way to you now, and believe me: It is worth the cost.
My Way is like a treasure hidden in a field. If you find it, you sell everything you own so you can buy the field. It’s like a pearl merchant finding the perfect pearl, and trading his whole inventory for it.
God’s new ecology is like fishermen with a net full of fish, sorting out the good from the bad. Our civilization is approaching an extinction event. When our cultural gene pool gets weeded, some ways of life will survive; others will not.
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