Thatís my theory, at least.
I mean, he always managed to draw a crowd, and he always kept them engaged. Plus, he was great at telling stories. But he never handled his stories the way we Christian radio folks like to handle them.
Think about the parable of the sower. Jesus basically says, ďSo thereís this guy, right? He tosses out some seeds, and they land all over the place. Most of them donít grow much, because they land in the sorts of places where stuff doesnít grow. But the seeds that landed in good soil grew to be nice and healthy.Ē
And thatís it. No contextualizing. No explanation. Not even a hint.
Just turn off the mic and play some Tomlin.
Before you tell me that if I was living in that culture, the whole story would make sense by itself, read a little further. The disciples donít even get it. They come up to Jesus, probably a little sheepishly, and say, ďWeíre sure there was something really profound in that story, but we just canít figure out what it was.Ē Jesus explains himself, but he doesnít go back to his audience and clear things up. Heís content to let everyone connect the dots by themselves.
Thatís hard to think about as a Christian radio dude, because I want people to know exactly what Iím trying to say. I want them to get it. And I want them to get it now.
I want that for my listeners because itís what I want for myself. I donít like uncertainty. I want to figure things out immediately, and I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iím right.
But Jesus is different. He leaves his story hanging in the air.
And he doesnít just do this in parables. I know Iíve got a few stories in my life that I donít understand. Iíve got my share of unconnected dots. Itís been a long time since my life looked anything like a completed picture, but because of that, Iíve been leaning on Jesus more. Iíve been asking him for direction more. Iíve been learning more.
Whether in parables or in life, I think when Jesus leaves dots unconnected, heís inviting us to connect them ourselves. But he knows we canít do that by ourselves, so he holds the answers close. He knows the best thing for us is to be in pursuit of him. Heís waiting for us to come up to him, probably a little sheepishly, and say ďIím sure thereís something really profound in this story of mine, but I just canít figure out what it is.Ē
And I think thatís the point.
Sometimes, when the dots are unconnected, itís just Jesus inviting us to seek him.