I love to read! I don’t always read as often as I would like to, but it still remains a passion of mine. I can remember taking trips to the library as a young elementary student and checking out as many books as I could carry. Upon arriving home, I would sit down in the living room recliner, crack open a book, and read. I would read for hours, sometimes finishing an entire book or two in one day. It was like I couldn’t get enough!
There were several factors that played into this enjoyment of reading and how it grew throughout my lifetime. My mom would always read to my siblings and I each day. We would read stories during our afternoon quiet time or at night before going to bed. But another memory that I have that played a role in this love of reading was Story Time at our local library. Some of you have wonderful memories as well from this activity. These are awesome! I can remember sitting on the floor with a bunch of other kids, listening to the librarian read through several stories with all the inflection and excitement that piqued my interest. There were so many good stories and so many new worlds and characters that waited each week to engage my ears and mind.
It is in this picture of Story Time that we continue looking into some of the parables of Jesus that are found embedded in the Gospels. The best part about this is that you can picture the best librarian storyteller imaginable and Jesus is even better! He is the Ultimate Storyteller and yet His stories go far beyond fiction novels, character development, or simple life lessons on manners. Jesus’ stories are meant to reshape our worldview. They are meant to confront us with reality. They are meant to showcase God’s grace to us. They are meant to set us free from our sin-filled lives and give us a new perspective on life and how God is on the move.
This week, Jesus sets the harsh tone of reality when He talks about the depths of our need and brokenness as human beings. He talks about the sin-filled core of our hearts and how it can destroy us if it is left unchecked. Jesus wants us to see the full nature of the evil that is naturally inside of us so that it drives us to Him for the healing and transformation that each of us need. Only Jesus can take a sinful heart and renew it into something holy. Only Jesus can breathe life into an area that only brings death.
How humbling it is to be confronted with our own brokenness?! But how amazing it is to see that God does not leave us as helpless and hopeless. Rather, He desires to make us clean and He gives us His Spirit that is alive in us that is renewing and transforming our hearts and minds each day. Now that is a story worth reading and talking about!
Pastor Ben Bigaouette