All the parables of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer is described as dealing with over 250 of them. Admittedly I haven’t gone through the Bible from cover to cover trying to confirm that number. But, as I mature in my Biblical understanding, the number seems more and more realistic. The Bible is a story book, which doesn’t diminish its stature, but helps us understand one of its essential characteristics.
I like stories, not only Bible stories. They are concrete. They stir the imagination. I wonder what the characters look like, and smell like. Do they have migraine headaches and trouble sleeping? Are they overweight or as thin as a rail? Do they prefer pizza, steak, or pasta? No, perhaps they like shrimp and eggplant better than anything else.
And, beyond the characters, what is the point of the story, of all of those 250+ Biblical parables / stories, especially in light of some of them only being several lines long, and others several chapters long, like the story of Joseph, David, or Esther. Or, even Jesus for that matter?
Beside liking to read stories, I also like some stories put to music. (The first movie I ever saw was The Sound of Music – what a combination of story and song!!) The other day, I was listening to “Buried Treasure”, a kind of story, sung by Kenny Rogers, whom I mentioned just a day or two ago in another post. Do you want to hear it? If so, click www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DeWkUzycZw&feature=related. The style may not be your cup of tea. Even the “story” itself may not seem too convincing, but that is not important at this point.
Tucked away, several times, in the lyrics of “Buried Treasure” is the little expression – “You can never be all you wanna be when you’re searching for gold.”? Of course, the idea is that you can’t be out searching for gold, and home tending your garden at the same time, or going to the club, or shopping the mall. Searching for your buried treasure, your gold, really cuts into your options and prioritizes your activities. You can’t fulfill all your dreams, wishes, hopes, and possible expectations while at the same time searching out your buried treasure.
Jesus also told a story about a treasure; in fact he told more than one. At this moment, I am thinking of the one about the buried treasure a fellow found in a field. (You can read the entire story in Matthew 14.44). After finding the treasure, the fellow then sold all the stuff he had, and with that money bought the field to make legal his claim on the treasure. Knowing that treasure was there waiting for him, he reorganized his value system. In the man’s mind, as that treasure climbed way up the ladder, other items fell into new places of lesser value.
Whether it is Kenny Rogers singing “Buried Treasure” or Jesus telling the story of the man who buys the field with the buried treasure he found there – they both share a common idea. The treasure seeker has to be willing to put aside what was, perhaps even yesterday, of greater importance. You can’t pursue the search and attainment of a treasure without sacrificing other things.
Of course, the song “Buried Treasures” and the teaching of Jesus are far from being mirror images of each other. But, they do share the reality that I sometimes tell my students, “Life is a series of tradeoffs; you can’t have it all.” We have other sayings that point the same direction, like “Everything has its price tag” and “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
It is simply wise to decide what is expendable for getting what is even more valuable. That is where Godly morality will make the difference in your trading program.