Follow Us

A week of parables – your chance to help figure them out!

One of the things you’ve got to love about Jesus is the pragmatic way that he taught. His parables took spiritual principles and made them practical. It gave his disciples something to talk about. I asked myself, “What would the modern day equivalent of that practice be?” I came up with an ans…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

One of the things you’ve got to love about Jesus is the pragmatic way that he taught. His parables took spiritual principles and made them practical. It gave his disciples something to talk about. I asked myself, “What would the modern day equivalent of that practice be?”

I came up with an answer and, with your help, will try an experiment: This next week I’m going to post a series of pictures without commentary. The pictures will work like parables, illustrating principles. But, just as Jesus would share a parable and then leave it open to his listener’s interpretation, so we’ll do that with the pictures.

Here’s how the experiment will work: Every morning I’ll post the picture. I’m asking you to use it as a basis for contemplative prayer (I call it “listening prayer”). Your instructions: Look at the picture and ask the Lord to show you what the spiritual application is. Clear your mind of distractions and listen to whatever God may bring to mind. Then post whatever comes to mind in the comment section. There are no right or wrong answers, so we’ll all benefit from your particular take on the posted picture.

Now, it is ironic to me that, according to my stats program, there are about 430 of you that read this blog every day, but there are so few comments. It speaks, perhaps, to a need we have to engage with one another more. So, let me encourage you to give it a shot, beginning today. Tomorrow I’ll share the actual story behind the picture. But go ahead and share whatever God gives you by way of spiritual parallel today. I think this could be fun if people dive in.

We begin with the following picture. I was driving through Charlottesville, VA and took this picture in a neighborhood we’d lived in 20 years ago.

The parable begins: “The kingdom of God is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside…”


Comments (26)

  • I notice a road at the bottom of the picture. I am reminded of the verses in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” As believers we are call to get of the beaten path that the rest of the world travels. The wheel chair reminds me of the verse in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God has chosen the fooling things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” The tent reminds me of the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heavens”. And the woods remind me of the verses in Isaiah 11:6-10, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”

  • The Kingdom of God is like a wheelchair parked outside a tent. To the world the wheelchair bound person who goes camping is naive, foolhardy, silly, not able to amount to much. However, the things of the Kingdom are foolishness to men and God uses the weak and foolish to confound the wise. The picture symbolizes the Kingdom because it represents weakness manifesting strength. It is a picture of weakness and poverty operating in faith. As we bring our weakness and brokeness to God in faith, He adds Kingdom power that produces a supernatural result, a Kingdom result. In that transaction the reality of the Kingdom is both established and revealed.

  • He’s provides all that we need, and we can go wherever He leads. There are only challenges, not barriers. I also think of the tabernacles/tents of meeting in the old testament, and how God dwells with uswe come with a need, and He meets it.

    Application for me today: set aside the challenges (temptations, distractions, etc…) that I wrestle with, and fall at His feet and enjoy the journey He is taking me on. I also am spending time today getting his “camping plans” and direction (my goals) for this season…

  • The parable begins: “The kingdom of God is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside…”

    …that illustrates our Heavenly Father provisions of shelter in a time of emotional and/or physical storms and always when we are helpless hopeless and useless being handicapped by doubt or fear.

  • The kingsom of God is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside….and while the world saw a handicapped person who had nothing, God saw a person who was rich in the kingdom of heaven. God saw the heart and person not tied to the things of this earth.

  • Here on earth we are handicapped and broken. In heaven, or inside the tent, we will leave behind these handicapes, we will have no use for a wheelchair.

  • We are all helpless, confined to our wheel chair of sin until we crawl out of it, into the tent of holiness, to the feet of Jesus and are healed, spiritually, then physically.

  • at times we may feel like we are inadequate, but God can use us no matter what our past or what mental/emotional/physical state we are in. “We are the body..” and where one may not be able to walk, another is there to pick him up and help him to the next point. As a family/tribe we are there for each other to help bring eachother closer to the Lord.

  • The tent( the kingdom of God) is the shelter from the storm, when you enter in you dont need the things of this world, you leave them behind.

  • “The Kingdom of God is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside. When mobility seems out of reach and paralysis seems to contradict freedom, there is always the joy of healing and covering in Him.”

    But it takes some effort. And risk.

    We only need ask Him for the fortitude to wheel our way to the Master.

    And when we do that, flinging ourselves out of the chair and into His arms comes naturally.

  • Seth, my dear old friend. The picture does not represent the kingdom of God, but the miserable little kingdom of Man. We are so focused on our earthly lives that we live in the tent that is in the backyard of the mansion of Godthe true kingdom of God. Our wheelchair is not necessary but we don’t know it. We have so much more available to us both in this life and in the next, but we live like kids in the tent and we wheel about in the chair as our legs atrophy. g

  • The kingdom of God is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside…

    There are so many people who are paralyzed by fear… fear of not being in control, fear of the unknown, fear that if they take a risk to get out of their safety net (the wheelchair), they might not be able to get back up. Fear that if they do enter such a flimsy safeguard (a nylon tent?) that it won’t hold up in a storm… it may leak, get blown over. But to jump out on that limb, take a step of faith, unzip the fly and enter the tent… what treasures you’ll find (if of course you are an outdoorsy person)… kingsize areobed, down mummy bags, fluffy pillows, etc…). Look what you would have missed out on if you had stayed in your chair and weathered the storm there? Certain hypothermia!

    Most people go through life without looking at eternal circumstances or treasures. They sit in their wheelchair seeing Jesus as a flimsy option, and they’d rather trust themselves, or what they think they’re “bound” to. But God is our provider, if we reach out and risk, what treasures will await!

  • The kingdom of God is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside…more than meets the eye. We see the empty wheelchair, but have no idea what is in the tent. Is there someone there? I don’t see anyone. It makes me think of what is left behind when we follow God. Lonely indepent lives, hiding in our isolated pride. A wheelchair which we need to get around on our own, a tent big enough (why would someone in a wheelchair need a tent tall enough to stand up in?) to house our possessions, ourselves, but not enough room to share. This is what is left behind when we join the tribe, when Jesus heals our wounds, when we share life with others.

  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like a tent whith a wheelchair parked outside…

    WE strugle through this life with our sins and with physical limitations. These sins hinder us from walking on the path of rightiousness as the law showes us, but God sent His son as a vessle to cary us to His home of promise. NOt the promise land of the Israelites but of all who believe in Him. He will gather us in His arms and take us to the Holly Pace where we will be freed of our sin, of our wheelchair but the strength and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

  • The picture reminds me of an ostrich with it’s head stuck in the ground. People think “If I can hide it well enough, people won’t be able to see that I need help.” They’re so self conscious that they are willing to give up things that help them in order to not be seen as weak. They would rather feign strength and get nowhere, than admit weakness and allow Jesus to carry them to the arms of the Father.

  • it makes me think of someone who is going out and doing something that they really like to do. And it’s especially cool, because it may have taken a lot of effort and mind-power to get out there.

  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside…You must become broken & homeless (abandon all) to follow Me.

  • hmmmm….I am burdened when I contemplate this photo, to me it symbolizes the way society would like to “hide” our homeless and disabled community, we are a generation of people who love to hide or ignore those in need, apathetic, and we love to turn our heads and hearts…I have learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from those whose lives are less than perfect, those whose hearts have been broken and their bodies also….some of the most cheerful people I have met are those who have had the least sunshine and the most pain and suffering in their lives.

  • Perhaps a nation who has forgotten or turned its back on a veteran, but God, who is our provider, has shown great hospitality to the veteran by giving him shelter, love and acknowledgement. This is the kingdom of God. His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are His ways ours… One may buck at the thought of living in a tent, while others are grateful for just the gift of life alone! Praise be to God!

  • Now there was in that town a certain man who was confined to a wheelchair. Every Monday, at the office, the other men would exchange stories of their weekend outings. Whenever they spoke of camping, however, they would look awkwardly at him and fall silent. They never tought to ask him to join them. This man actually loved to hear the camping stories and the freedom from the confines of living that they conveyed.
    One weekend, he asked the Lord, “Why did you make me this way? I can never go camping like this!” The Lord replied, “I love you just the way you are. You depend on me more than these others. Nothing is impossible for you, if you depend on me.”
    So the man went out and bought a tent. “Is this a present for someone?” they asked him. “Yes,” he said. “It is for me.”
    As the man made his way through the woods, over the bumpy path, balancing the tent on his lap, he thought, “I can’t believe I’m really doing this!” And his heart sang a new song. When he found a nice spot, he rolled the tent to the ground and slipped out of his chair to the grass. He smoothed out the tent, drove the stakes, and put it up. Finally, he pulled himself inside, and lay down to listen to the sounds of nature all around. He gave thanks to the Lord for giving him health, and joy, and the ability to enjoy the simple things of life. And he rested contentedly.
    Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside. The world looks on the outside and sees limitations; but the Lord looks on the heart, and sets us free to really live, in spite of our perceived limitations, when we fully depend on Him. Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord, for he shall find freedom and rest.

  • Many of us are paralyzed and forget that whom the son sets free is free indeed. We can rest in the fact that 2000 years ago He set us free and said “It is finished.” We don’t need our “wheel-chairs”, things we use as crutches- we can lean on- depend on- find comfort in the arms (tent) of the Most High. Cast your cares on Him b/c He cares for you.

  • As the tent of meeting wasn’t pretty, but common – so our Messiah came – common looking. We all come before Him and His Presence in our afflicted state and cry ‘Abba, have mercy’!

  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like a tent with a wheelchair parked outside…The Lord of the universe allowed an old woman who lost her husband to live there after she was crushed by unlawful greed “lawfully” by the world’s apathy. Moreover for twenty years she was labeled crazy. The kingdom of heaven is likened unto people who know the Lord of the universe and hate the world’s values of greed and apathy, lovingly, patiently and tenderly show her Christ’s love for years and years and communicate to her that Jesus loves her and that she has more value than what this cruel world has alloted her. That we the church are the Kingdom of Heaven and God’s love is manifest in us toward her. 🙂

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap