Posts Tagged: "parable"

A Parable About Illusion

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The following story is found in Lillian Daniel’s book Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To: Spirituality without Stereotypes, Religion without Ranting…

When I was a child, my mother planned a big garden party. At the heart of her vision was that our backyard would be filled with blooming daffodils, which she had planted in anticipation of this party long before. But as the party date approached, the weather stayed cold and no daffodils were even close to blooming.

Yet on the day of the party, our lawn was filled with daffodils, just as she had dreamed.

The guests marveled at the springtime beauty of our yard, especially since no garden in the neighborhood had any springtime action like that.

But then after the guests went home, the daffodils drooped and my mother went through the yard carefully removing all the cut daffodils she had bought from the florist, that she had painstakingly attached to chopsticks with wire twist ties, that she had carefully stuck in the ground.

Those daffodils weren’t fake; they were just short-lived and flimsy, with no bulb under the earth to allow them to survive the rough weather. On the surface and for a short while, they looked like real daffodils but they didn’t have enough going on underneath to last.

They weren’t living. They weren’t rooted; they wilted early on because there was no oxygen to sustain them.

*     *     *

I don’t want to give this story an application, but rather, I want to offer it for you to consider.

What does it say to you?


The Flight Simulator Church

I remember hearing Paul Scanlon use the analogy of a flight simulator to describe what church is often like…

“The church I grew up in was great. I loved the people. We all knew each other and loved each other—and we loved God. But we were turned inward. We liked things as they were and we weren’t looking to be changed.

paul scalnon speaking

God began to speak to my heart. I couldn’t explain it but I felt this overwhelming sadness and I knew I needed to change. So I left that church, and it was painful. The people I knew all my life were upset with me for leaving. It was like I’d left an Amish community and I was being shunned or something… Read More

Depth Over Display

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Roots aren’t very sexy but they are absolutely necessary.

They don’t get noticed or applauded. They exist under the surface and they grow slowly.

Roots aren’t photogenic. They’ll never make the cover of a magazine.

Without deep roots, there will be no leaves, flowers, or fruit.

Jesus talked about this.

While teaching the parable of a farmer scattering seed, He explained…

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems… —Matthew 13.20, 21 NLT

The Message Bible says, “This is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But… when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.”

A great display of enthusiasm doesn’t always mean much.

I’ve noticed that the ones who are quick to rave about the church when they first come are often gone in a flash. It’s weird.

I recently heard a minister talking about his work in the prisons. He described how many in the prison wound up there because they had low impulse control. He went on to say how those with low impulse control are often quick to embrace religion enthusiastically—and obsessively. Their language becomes super-churchy and all they want to talk about is the spiritual.

The thing is, we want depth over display.

Being good at sounding and looking spiritual is not nearly as important as having deep, healthy roots—which aren’t seen or celebrated by others.

Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious… but they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important. —Colossians 2.23 MSG

We need depth over display.

Roots aren’t sexy but they’re absolutely necessary.

We tend to measure by the appearance, but what’s below the surface is way more important.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught. —Colossians 2.7 NLT


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