“Why do preachers always tell stories?”
“It’s their way of getting attention, because nobody listens.” Matt didn’t let on that he understood the real reason.
“Yeah, I get it, but last week he talked about farming. This week he’s talking about farming. What the heck does farming have to do with religion, anyway?”
“Like I said, it gets attention. I mean we’re not farmers, right?” Matt tugged on his beard. “Maybe there are some farmers in the crowd.”
“Let’s see, he talked about seeds and how they don’t always fall where they should. Maybe it’s like gambling, like when the dice don’t fall the way they should.”
Matt almost laughed. “You don’t gamble!”
“Nah, I just collect taxes, like you.”
“That was last week’s sermon and you didn’t stay to hear him out.” The post sermon explanation had included Isaiah’s words about folks blinded to the truth. Matt wanted to open his friend’s eyes to it.
“This week’s no different,” grumbled the partner. “Farming again. So what if some weeds come up with the crops. The world’s not perfect.”
“That wasn’t what he was driving at,” said Matt shaking his head. “You never stick around long enough to hear his explanations.”
“He should be up front and talk plain. You know, ‘make it simple stupid’ so I’m not so confused.” He got up to leave.
Matt took a deep breath, held him back with his hand, and explained, “He’s been talking about heaven.”
“I don’t believe in heaven,” said the friend. “I just want a little for myself here and now, or did you forget I’m a tax collector, too?”
“Shhh! Listen; there it is,” said Matt his ears attuned to Christ’s shift in storytelling. The words floated on the wind, words about treasures buried in fields and pearls of great price.
“Now he’s talking my language,” said the friend who sat down again and began to listen intently. He tried to look over the heads of some of the people to get a better view of the preacher. When the story shifted to nets cast into the sea to gather fish, he didn’t flinch. He remembered that among Matt’s friends were fishermen.
Matt watched his friend’s face. He could see that the man’s eyes had become animated. Things were finally making sense to him. But when Jesus mentioned the sorting of the fish, keeping the good and throwing out the bad, Matt worried. Still it seemed his friend was all ears now.
And when Jesus asked, “Do you understand all these things?”
His friend answered, “Yes!”