"From here to there to Scully Square. When I get back, I'll pull your hair."
-Our driver for Upper Deck Super Tours, when he was a kid, kids used this rhyme to choose who would be it for tag
"If at first you don't succeed . . . try playing second."
-Our guide at Fenway Park
"If at first you don't succeed . . . skydiving may not be for you."
-Our guide at Fenway Park
Because today was all tourism, I'm using a few of pictures of over three hundred pictures Sarah and I took. It was a good day but this tourism stuff is more tiring than pedaling across the United States of America. It's much busier too. Anyway, I'll let the photos speak for our day in Boston.
Jesus didn't have a camera but he sure used pictures to explain the principles of right living. In Mark 4:30, "Jesus asked, 'How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it?'"
In verses 33 and 34, Mark says, "Jesus used many such stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they were able to understand. In fact, in his public teaching he taught only with parables, but afterwards when he was alone with his disciples, he explained the meaning to them."
Matthew 13:34 - 35 says, "Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these (see verse 33) when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled the prophecy that said,
'I will speak to you in parables. I will explain mysteries hidden since the creation of the world.'"
What were the results of the stories Jesus told? Look at Matthew 13:53-54, "When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he left that part of the country. He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was astonished and said, 'Where does he get his wisdom and his miracles?'"
I often wonder why we as church people feel like we need to always go deeper all the time. Jesus even taught that the way to the Kingdom was easily found only by those who came as little children. Wow, is it that easy? Can that be right? Doesn't he mean we need to believe and think as theologians? Certainly not as children! But that's what he said, "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4).
Kids love stories. So do we. Think about the last time a principle of God really stuck in your heart and/or mind. I'm not a betting person but I'd venture to say a story was involved. Think about the last time you sat on the edge of your seat (or pew) in a church service, glued to the teaching. Was a story involved? Some of you, maybe many of you, answered yes to that little quiz, right? Stories stick!
I've heard of people criticizing preachers or teachers because the teaching was full of stories. Sounds like Jesus to me. Next time your pastor or guest speaker tells a story, maybe you should listen for the Biblical principle or application instead of looking for the deeper teaching. Most people who need more and more teaching usually don't do what is taught anyway. (The Pharisees knew very much about the Scriptures. Jesus blasted them in Matthew 23.) I guess my Biblical pet peeve is that we Christians don't do what we've learned no matter how deep we've gone. "Jesus took the complex and made it simple. We take the simple and make it complex" (Anonymous). Maybe we should work on the doing and forget about the depth.
I have taught students for years that we could quit studying the Bible today, do what we already know, and change the world around us. That would make a great story! It would make a great picture too.
Just do the Bible . . . the simple stuff.