Tag Archives: Parable

Briana McDonough ~ The Gift of Telling Your Story

Do you like to tell stories?

The gospel of Mark tells us Jesus was “never without a story when he spoke.” If the listener’s heart was like good soil, (if they could not only hear but also truly listen) the seeds of those stories would go down deep inside, be protected, nourished, then sprout roots, dig in, hold on, and grow — bearing fruit (insight, understanding, evidence of the seed in the soil).

The stories meant to teach would effectively result in learning.

And I’ve liked this teaching of Jesus for a long time —

because I like stories, and because these “teaching” stories — or parables — are like knots to untangle, puzzles to solve.

This kind of story is safe.

But it’s not Jesus’ way to let us play it safe.

He won’t let us just get by telling only these safe, two-dimensional, far-removed-from-us parables about made-up people.


Next Mark tells of the woman who had been hemorrhaging, who believed that Jesus could heal her if only she came close enough to him.

When Jesus felt his power leave him and go into this woman as she touched his garment, he asked, “Who touched me?”

Which is an odd question from Jesus, who knew everything, and who certainly knew this, too.

His question was her prompt.

He was calling her out.

He drew her out, asked her to tell her story. To speak words aloud, to share them with the crowd, to scatter her words like seeds.

When she stepped forward and spoke up, the gospel of Mark tells us that she “stepped up in fear and trembling…” which makes sense, this story not being an easy one to tell. It would risk everything — others’ opinions of her, their judgment of her circumstances, the security of secrecy and the protection of pretense.

To tell her story would be to confess her sickness, to lay bear her need, and to acknowledge her inability to heal herself.

She “knelt before him” — in the humbling posture of submission, “and gave him the whole story.”

Not a parable. Her story.

But look closely at what Jesus asked. He wasn’t asking her to tell the story all about her weakness, brokenness, and shame. No — the question Jesus asked drew out the story about how she believed he could heal her, how she followed and pushed her way toward him, how she stretched out to touch him, believing that what he said was true and acting on that belief.

Everywhere I go, I’m never without a story.

And in obedient submission, I want to be faithful to tell the risky and important stories — to answer his question, “Who touched me?” — to tell the stories about the times in my life when I was at the end of myself, when I was broken but believed, when I saw his power and grabbed onto his promises, and acted on that belief. The stories about the times I reached out to touch him, the times I turned my heart toward him in my anguish, the times I cried out to him to save me, to hold me, to heal me, because I knew that nothing else in the world could.

And the most important part of these stories: his faithfulness to turn to me and see me. His faithfulness to heal me, restore me , help me, rescue me, and save me.

And in those blessed times when my stories land on the soil of a ready heart, my prayer is: take the seed of this story, push it down inside to be protected and nourished and to develop roots and grow. The seed in the good soil bears fruit.

Michelle Bauer ~ The Farmer and the Seed

God is always at work in our lives – loving, teaching, guiding, and correcting. The Parable of the Sower uses the metaphor of seed and soil to help us understand why we aren’t always able to hear God’s voice or put what God shows us into practice.

Forming a close relationship with Jesus is a two way street – he initiates by scattering the seed and then waits for us to respond. Is the soil of your soul ready to receive him?

Spend some time in this text:

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.'” – Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Spend a few moments in silence.  Take a few deep breaths and feel your body begin to relax. When you feel your mind becoming quiet, offer a simple prayer to God, thanking him for his presence and inviting him to speak to you.


A parable is a story with a deeper meaning. Jesus used a lot of parables as he taught those who followed him. What does this tell you about Jesus?

Do you like to garden or work in your yard? How does the story about a farmer relate to you? If Jesus was going to write a parable specifically for you, what might he use as the premise?

Farmers put in long days of hard work. However, even all of their effort doesn’t actually make their crops grow. What does this teach us about rest? Furthermore, sometimes we can’t see immediate results from our efforts: talk to God about a time when you felt like your efforts to accomplish something were eaten up by the birds. What did you feel about that experience? How do you feel about it now?

The parable describes a path in the middle of the field. A path is a trail packed down hard over time. Where are the hard places in your heart? How did they get there? If you are ready, spend some time today releasing those places into the Spirit’s care.

Is there something you’ve heard about God or how he works that seems too good to be true? Talk to him about those things and ask him to soften your heart to believe.

What is it about the gospel or the kingdom that you struggle to understand? What do you do with your questions or confusion? 


Offer your thoughts and questions to God and ask him to speak to you.


Offer a prayer in words to God. Thank God for his presence.