Do You Mind If I Just Sit Here With You?
Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.
I love stories and I thank all that is holy that I am not alone in that opinion. That is why I hold many of the messages contained within the gospels that are believed to be the actual words of Christ as sacrosanct. Jesus was a master spinner of tales to make a point that would not just touch the mind but the heart and soul of the people who sought Him out as He journeyed, preaching God’s message.
His “Parables” are but a few examples of His teachings that religious scholars view as authentic recordings of His words and they are considered to be the most universally known (along with the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes) messages of faith contained within the New Testament, as well. It certainly is no accident that Sunday lectionary readings in churches throughout the world frequently contain His parables! And with the lessons that are to be learned from these words as a primary consideration for us all today, I want to share with you another story that I am betting will touch you all in such a way that you will never forget the message of faith and love that it teaches us all.
The story “Finding God” seems to have come from a sermon. I can not be certain, since I can not really remember just exactly where I first heard these words. But the quote that follows the story, which I clearly remember, makes it seem as if this is true. I will leave it up to you to decide if it is a “parable” worthy of being imprinted on your hearts!
Bill was a typical college student. Wild hair, too long by many people’s standards and wearing those message t-shirts you just want to burn and jeans that were holier than is the Bible, he was naturally someone who most people would try to avoid like the plague! He was also brilliant and quite a philosopher, in his own right who could mesmerize a group of people with his words if they would just risk listening to him.
A very proper and conservative church was across the street from campus and one Sunday the beauty of the music captured Bill’s attention. Deciding to go over, he entered the sanctuary after the service had started. It was packed and he slowly made his way down the aisle looking for a seat. None to be found, he decided to sit down in the aisle, exactly where he stood. And while doing this might have worked at an informal campus church service, it was certainly out-of-place here! The tension throughout the room was so thick you could have cut it with a knife! The minister, himself dumbstruck, and trying to decide what his next move would be, suddenly spies a church elder, a dignified octogenarian dressed in his Sunday finest, making his way slowly up the aisle, cane in one hand and being supported by the backs of pews with the other. Whispering began as parishioners were certain this wonderful man was going to do what was needed, and escort the young man from among their ranks. The minister watched silently, uncertain himself as to what was about to transpire. The elder reached the young man, dropped his cane to the floor and painfully and with great difficulty, lowered himself to the floor on legs so arthritic that the crack of joints was audible! This sainted man sat next to Bill so he wouldn’t have to sit there worshipping alone! The impact of what had just happened brought more than a few tears to not just the eyes of the congregation but to the minister as well who, finally able to speak, shares words that none present would ever forget.
“What I’m about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read.” a)
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Luke 18:1-8 NIV
a) While it is not possible that the story shared above was written by William J Toms, a British writer, the quote cited in the piece is attributed to him!
(William John Thoms November 16, 1803 – August 15, 1885)
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