ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
This week, we launched a new sermon series on the parables of Jesus. Parables have been compared to a room— a space you can enter and explore from different angles. In the sermon this week we were reminded that we can often miss the details of some of the more familiar parables, and we were invited to use our imaginations to enter into these familiar stories with fresh eyes and open hearts. This week spend some time prayerfully exploring the parable of the two builders from Luke 6:46-49:
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. 48 That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”
Read this passage slowly, and try to envision yourself in the scene that Jesus is depicting. Imagine that Jesus is sitting across from you, saying these words. Envision yourself first as the builder who digs deep, through hard clay and difficult work, to reach the rock. Imagine the exhaustion you would feel, and the satisfaction as well, of knowing that you reached what you were digging for. Imagine how you would feel knowing that your house will be secure when the flood comes. In what areas of your life have you “dug deep,” doing the challenging work of the kingdom, and trusting that God will provide and support you when life gets difficult? Do you feel grateful and relieved? Or do you just feel tired considering all the challenging work you faced?
Now picture yourself as the builder who built without the foundation— the massive amount of work maybe feels intimidating, or you are unsure of your ability to accomplish the task. Or perhaps the hard ground seems solid enough to build on, and you are not sure all that work is really necessary. In what areas of your life are you reluctant to do the hard work that Jesus is calling you to? How do you feel when you hear Jesus’ call to difficult action? Are you hard on yourself for your inaction? Do you feel resentful of being asked to do such hard work?
As you pray through this passage, ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to open your heart to God’s invitation to you in this parable. Remember as you pray that none of us are asked to do this challenging work of the kingdom perfectly. Remember that none of us are asked to do this alone:
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.