June 10, 2018

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session


Parables of God’s Just Kingdom
Matthew 13:24-33

Read this article as a Word Document

“Finding Peace, Power, and Purpose in Parables”

Parables provoke me to examine myself. Am I a weed or am I wheat? In these parables, Jesus is discussing how the kingdom of God thrives amid weeds or is enmeshed in the surrounding world but still fulfilling its purpose. Am I in the world, leavening the people and processes around me? Does my presence cause a rising that multiplies the reign of God? How do I manage to fulfill purpose when weeds/obstacles are popping up and rooting down around me?

Personally, how am I making a difference right where I am in time and space? I am faithfully partnered in sacred relationship. My marriage is growing because my husband and I are seeking to serve God by serving each other, and together we serve God by serving the people of God. Our home continues to be a shelter for those who would otherwise become entangled by the weeds of poverty, crime, and addiction—or be discarded as weeds themselves.

In the kingdom of God, each of us exists in a plot of God’s vineyard/garden, but none of us has authority to expel or dismiss anyone. The tension is present, and we must discipline ourselves not to isolate ourselves from others. We must live in this garden until God alone declares us wheat or weed. Our purpose is to aspire to be wheat and help others transform from weed to wheat. It is a trying yet wonderful existence; we have the opportunity to grow and allow the seeds of our growth to cross-pollinate or work through the process to help others rise into their purpose.

Consider the significant issues we are experiencing: rampant racism, nationalism on steroids, and increases in the cost of basic living. I hear Jesus calling us through the parables to resist evil in all forms, to insist that equality and justice are more than platitudes. We are to lead and sustain change efforts, and yet it was entertainment conglomerates and social media protests that called Roseanne Barr to account for her vitriol. Cable news reporters leading ever-present town hall forums on racism that are far too normalized and powerless. We must live out the wisdom of our faith!

Being complacent, doing nothing, avoiding the responsibility of making a decision, is also making a choice. You are responsible for both your action and your inaction. —Akiroq Brost

A parable is defined as a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. If we do not respond more creatively and divinely after engaging with the parables of Jesus, then the lack of power is not due to the ineptness or emptiness of Jesus. We have failed to learn and live our faith if we do not rise with integrity and empathy to make life better for all.

  • Are you a weed or wheat?
  • Are you in the world, leavening the people and processes around you?
  • Does your presence cause a rising that multiplies the reign of God?
  • How do you manage to fulfill purpose when weeds/obstacles are popping up and rooting down around you?

You can ask the same questions about your congregation.

—Kelly Bates Oglesby, kellyoglesby@gmail.com

© 2018

Kelly Bates Oglesby of Indianapolis, Indiana, is our ABS Online writer for Justice in the New Testament, our Summer 2018 study. She is joyfully married to Herman Oglesby. Kelly enjoys writing and teaching. She is discerning opportunities for pastoral ministry.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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