Category Archives: Parables

“Beware of the cares of this world” by J.C. Ryle

“The third caution contained in the parable of the sower is to beware of the cares of this world. Our Lord tells us that the hearts of many hearers of the word are like thorny ground. The seed of the word, when sown upon them, is choked by the multitude of other things, by which their affections are occupied.

They have no objection to the doctrines and requirements of the Gospel. They even wish to believe and obey them. But they allow the things of earth to get such hold upon their minds, that they leave no room for the word of God to do its work.

And hence it follows that however many sermons they hear, they seem nothing bettered by them. A weekly process of truth-stifling goes on within. They bring no fruit to perfection.

The things of this life form one of the greatest dangers which beset a Christian’s path. The money, the pleasures, the daily business of the world, are so many traps to catch souls.

Thousands of things, which in themselves are innocent, become, when followed to excess, little better than soul-poisons, and helps to hell. Open sin is not the only thing that ruins souls.

In the midst of our families, and in the pursuit of our lawful callings, we have need to be on our guard. Except we watch and pray, these temporal things may rob us of heaven, and smother every sermon we hear. We may live and die thorny-ground hearers.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (vol. 1; New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 1: 252–253. Ryle is commenting on Luke 8:4-15.

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Filed under Christian Theology, Gospel according to Luke, J.C. Ryle, Jesus Christ, Parables, Perseverance, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Repentance, The Gospel, Worldliness

“Jesus was the master creator of story” by Klyne Snodgrass

“Jesus’ parables are among the best known and most influential stories in the world. Even if people know nothing of Jesus, they either know about his stories or have encountered their impact in expressions like ‘prodigal’ or ‘good Samaritan.’ The importance of the parables of Jesus can hardly be overestimated. At no point are the vitality, relevance, and usefulness of the teaching of Jesus so clear as in his parables.

Jesus was the master creator of story, and nothing is so attractive or so compelling as a good story. Children (and adults) do not say, ‘Tell me some facts’; they want a story. Stories are inherently interesting. Discourse we tolerate; to story we attend. Story entertains, informs, involves, motivates, authenticates, and mirrors existence. By creating a narrative world, stories establish an unreal, controlled universe. The author abducts us and– almost god-like– tells us what reality exists in this narrative world, what happens, and why.

Stories are one of the few places that allow us to see reality, at least the reality the author creates. There, to a degree we cannot do in real life, we can discern motives, keep score, know who won, and what success and failure look like. Life on the outside virtually stops; we are taken up in the story. The storyteller is in control so that we are forced to see from new angles and so that the message cannot be easily evaded.

Hearers become willing accomplices, even if the message is hostile. From this ‘other world’ we are invited to understand, evaluate, and, hopefully, redirect our lives. We learn most easily in the abstract. In teaching and preaching the shortcut is to repeat the abstract idea we already know, forgetting that others still need to learn in the concrete. We would do better, at least frequently, to clothe the abstract in concrete experience and story, just as Jesus did.”

–Klyne Snodgrass, Stories With Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 1-2.

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Filed under Bible, Jesus Christ, Parables, Preaching, Quotable Quotes