DayBreaks for 7/17/14 – The Un-askable Question
Matthew 13:36 (NLT) Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”
For a moment, set aside the above verse and listen to a story about a young anthropologist named Connie who works among aboriginal people in Australia. The community where she lives has a rich tradition of storytelling as do many pre-literate cultures. Everyone gathers at night, a story is told, and then another, and another. It is not only a form of entertainment for them, but also of education, culture and informs them about the unbroken links to their ancestors and the earth. Connie feels extraordinarily privileged when she is asked to join in this activity.
The first story told one evening was about the animal ancestor of this community and its adventures at the beginning of time. The story overflowed with detail, action, imagery.
At the end of the story, Connie was thoroughly delighted and asked, “May I ask a question? What does it mean?”
All eyes instantly turned to look at her. The elder looks at her gravely and says, “That is the one question you cannot ask.” A long time passed before she was invited to come again to hear stories. She has asked the wrong question.
“What does it mean?” was the wrong question for Connie to ask about the aboriginal myth. It may seem strange that such a question would not be welcome, but must consider, as in today’s text, whether or not it could be the wrong question for us to ask about the story of the sower, or any of the stories told by Jesus. “What does it mean?” is the wrong question if we think that by having an answer, we can somehow get a handle on this story, domesticate it, make it safe. The stories Jesus tells are not subject to our control. He tells these stories so that we can be transformed. He tells these stories, not so that we can ask questions about them, but so that the stories can ask questions of us.
Jesus wants us to learn from him and his teaching. But what one story teaches me may teach you something different. And one parable may speak a certain lesson to me at one point in my life but in another season of time has much different, and perhaps much greater, meaning.
Instead of wanting spoon-fed answers, we need to be more content to wrestle with the Spirit and let Him instruct us!
PRAYER: How majestic and mysterious is Your Word, how rich beyond our ken! Thank You for Your Spirit that teaches us in marvelous ways! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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