By Everette Chapman

One of the favorite books in the Homiletics section of my personal library is Learning to Preach Like Jesus by Ralph and Gregg Lewis.  In it these two divinity school Professors of Preaching stress the importance of Jesus’ use of stories.  We have always called those stories “parables,” and much of what we remember about Jesus’ earthly ministry centers around those parables. Webster defines a parable as “a short fictitious narrative from which a moral or spiritual truth is drawn.”

Some of Jesus’ most well-known parables come readily to mind, along with the truths they impart.  For example, the parable of the Prodigal Son speaks of man’s waywardness and of the loving Father’s forgiveness.  Moreover, the parable of the Good Samaritan illustrates the point that a neighbor is someone who helps in our time of need.  Jesus simply told these stories as they were and let His listeners deduce the spiritual truths imbedded within them.

I think I saw a parable just last week.  Let me explain.  On my way to the Chapel from our home at The Links O’ Tryon near Landrum, I pass by the Landrum Elementary School every morning.  The traffic around the school is so brisk that two city policemen are always on duty to direct it.  It is a beehive of activity.

On the particular day in question, I was moving along slowly with the school traffic when I saw a little girl, no older than a first-grader, peddling her pretty little pink bicycle down the street.  I watched her as she turned onto the sidewalk beside Highway 14, as traffic whizzed by in both directions.  She made her way to the corner, where Redland Road turns south off Highway 14, waited for the light, and then crossed the busy street, wheeling her bike onto the walkway that led down to the school.

I was amazed that such a youngster would be allowed to ride alone to school, along a busy street, amid potential danger that might have lurked beside the road as she made her way to school.  Just then, however, I noticed something I had not realized prior to that second.  Riding behind her by about ten yards, on his own bicycle, was her dad.  He followed her across the street and saw her safely down to the school entryway.

That little princess could feel secure, face the traffic, risk any other lurking danger, and arrive safely at her destination because her father was close by, protecting, guarding, and overseeing her activities with protective love.  What a parable!

As the light changed and I continued eastward, an old song ran through my mind.  My mother used to sing it; I am sure you have heard it as well.

 

I trust in God wherever I may be,

Upon the land, or on the rolling sea,

For come what may, from day to day,

My Heavenly Father watches over me.

 

The valley may be dark, the shadows deep,

But, O, the Shepherd guards His lonely sheep;

And through the gloom He’ll lead me home,

My Heavenly Father watches over me.

 

I trust in God, I know He cares for me,

On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea;

Though billows roll, He keeps my soul;

My Heavenly Father watches over me.

 

I need that reminder of our Father’s care.  The morning news and the day’s headlines proclaim that we, too, are surrounded by danger, and the world’s traffic whirls ominously all around.  However, we are not alone; our Father is nearby, loving, protecting, defending, and enabling.  That’s Good News!

 

 

Rev. Everette Chapman is pastor of Fairfield Mountains Chapel, Lake Lure. His new book, “Gentle Mountain Breezes”, a collection of articles from his Mountain Breeze column since the late 1980’s to the present time, is available by contacting Fairfield Mountains Chapel.