According to the dictionary, a parable is “a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.” I believe an even better definition of a parable may be the “Parable of a Parable,” which comes from Yiddish literature: Once upon a time, Truth went about the streets as naked as the day he was born. As a result, the people would not accept him or let him into their homes. Whenever people caught sight of him, they turned away and fled. His existence was a lonely one indeed. One day when Truth was sadly wandering about, he came upon Parable. Dressed in splendid clothes of beautiful colors, Parable said to Truth, “Tell me, neighbor, what makes you look so sad?”
Truth replied bitterly, “Brother, things are bad, very bad. I’m extremely old and no one wants to acknowledge me. No one wants anything to do with me.” Parable replied, “People don’t run away from you because you’re old. I, too, am old. But the older I get, the better people like me. I’ll tell you a secret: Everyone likes things disguised and prettied up a bit. Let me lend you some splendid clothes like mine, and you’ll see that the very people who pushed you aside will invite you into their homes and will be glad to have your company.” Truth took Parable’s advice and put on the borrowed clothes. And from that time on, Truth and Parable have gone hand in hand together and everyone loves them. They make a happy pair.
Most noted for using parables is Jesus. However, such stories were used prior to Jesus’ physical time on earth and have continued to be used since then. These parables not only team up with truth, but they lead to discussions and applications. With this in mind, here are a couple of brief parables for your own consideration.
Parable one: A small boy lived in a simple cottage on the side of a mountain that overlooked a beautiful valley. On the other side of the valley stood a house so much more attractive than his own. The house across the way had golden windows. The small boy would often look at these magnificent windows glowing in the light of the early morning sun and resolve that someday he would leave his own commonplace house and go to visit this wonderful place. Finally the day arrived for the journey. He left on his trip at first light and arrived on the other side of the valley late in the afternoon.
But he could not find the house with the magnificent windows. Instead, he saw only a house that was even more ordinary than his own. He was sure that he had made a mistake. A little girl was playing in the yard of the ordinary house, so he asked her, “Do you know where I can find the house of golden windows?” The girl replied, “Indeed I do!” And then she pointed across the valley to the little boy’s house whose windows were at that moment ablaze with the brilliant glory of the reflected setting sun. For the first time, the young boy saw the beauty of his own home. And he hurried back with a grateful heart.
Parable two: A young woman who was a lover of flowers set out a rare vine at the base of a stone wall. Though she lavished great care on the vine daily and it grew vigorously, she was disappointed that it did not have the attractive flowers it was supposed to produce. One morning as the young woman was looking at the disappointing vine, her elderly invalid neighbor, whose backyard joined her own, called her over and said, “You can’t imagine how much I have been enjoying the blooms of that vine you planted.” The young lady looked on the neighbor’s side of the wall and saw a mass of beautiful blossoms. The vine had crept through the crevices and flowered where the elderly neighbor could enjoy the beauty.
Carl Mays, author of over a dozen books and speaker at over 2500 events, can be contacted at email@example.com or 865-436-7478. His books, including A Strategy For Winning, People of Passion, Anatomy Of A Leader and Are We Communicating Yet? are available in stores, at www.carlmays.com, and on www.amazon.com.