Last week while posting Allie Gory's story Allegorys I found the words flowed quicker than my fingers could type. A story within a story blossomed in seconds, concept conveyed. The thrill of victory set in. This week an agony of defeat lunged at me through the monitor.
At this moment in time, after three days of pondering, I still cannot write a parable.
But....this descending, spiraling into utter disappointment moment does not mean I cannot discuss one of the ultimate means of illustrating a concept.
Stay with me--don't leave. You may not think you can use parables in yor WIP or even write one. Don't limit yourself. Explore this great tool that Jesus used with me today.
While listening to the people gathered around Him, Jesus chose to use a short method of illustration to teach, answer, and explain concepts. Why did He do that?
The people called Him Rabbi, meaning teacher. I am His student. Therefore I want to learn how to tell or write a parable and have it ready--at my fingertips--to use at the right time.
Parables are short illustrations seeded with layers of meaning. The listeners/readers understanding depends on their level of knowledge regarding the point being made. One could be entertained with a delightful short story, another left pondering a new concept.
I pondered the parables Jesus told and wondered, what do these short stories have in common?
Key components to telling/writing a parable
*Short- Jesus' time on earth was limited. Every moment served a purpose. He did not come to be a great story teller, yet telling stories served a purpose in His ministry. By condensing His stories He helped the person/s with their current issue then He moved on to the next task.
*Simple- Jesus used parables to teach the general population. Every listening ear could understand the story in some way. He chose common settings and characters laced with a problem. As a result he didn't need to waste time with descriptions, backstory, or expansive dialogues. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus simply starts, "A sower went out to sow." In a few short verses he tells what happened to the seeds.
This doesn't mean he couldn't carry on an intellectual conversation. He sparred intelligently with the Pharisees and Sadducees on numerous occassions and won every battle.
*People- Parables always have people as the main characters. Animals, plants, forces of nature, etc. are used in fables. Jesus used shepherds, farmers, kings, noblemen, fathers, women, etc.
*Clear- Some of Jesus' parables had several examples; others only used one situation. The parable of The Lost Sheep tells of a shepherd searching for the one lamb; the parable of The Lost Coin tells of a woman searching for one coin. Whereas The parable of The Good Samaritan tells of three men who walked by a wouded person and the parable of The Sower tells of three places seeds fell. Parables allow for variance to meet the need.
*Greatest Ingredient- The purpose of the parable is to nestle a truth within a story so that those who need to learn the concept can.
Here is a challenge for you. I will start a parable..you finish it. The endings will vary depending on your point of view of the truth.
A farmer appeared before his master one day. Pleased with the farmer's service the master rewared him with two bulls. The farmer examined the two bulls and placed the healthier one in a rich field of hearty grasses. He place the other bull.......
Rise up...take the challenge.
If you are interested here is a site that lists all of the parables Jesus told and their Scripture references: