An Allegory

August 15, 2012

Friends,

An allegory:

My car died just a mile or so from my house, so being it was a pleasant weekend day, I really didn’t mind the idea of walking home.  Kicking a few rocks with the toes of my work boots, and enjoying the changing color of the leaves, I thought of the new and fancy car the company would be giving me next week.  I’d earned it.  And I was on my way to the top.

Some milk cows were off to my right and I glanced absent-mindedly toward them.  But something beyond them caught my attention.  A halo of light was moving slowly across the field.  I stopped, stared, and tried to figure out what it was.  The cows didn’t seem aware of anything, so I tried blinking several times, thinking I must be hallucinating.  But no, I wasn’t on any drug, and inside the halo was a rainbow, while inside of that, there appeared to be a woman pushing something.  I walked up to the barbed-wire fence and watched.  I realized it was a plow.  The woman, with the strange glowing haze around her, was pushing a plow.

Suddenly the woman looked up and waved.  “Well, she’s not a dream,” I reasoned.  “Need some help?” I yelled.

“Sure!” she answered back.

“Weird,” I muttered, but finding a loose wire, I gingerly stepped through.

As I neared the woman, I saw she was very old.  Under her tattered straw hat, silver hair blew gently across her face.  “Hey,” she said with a grin as she took a handkerchief from her overalls’ pocket, and then wiped the sweat from her face and neck.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m plowing,” she said.

I wanted to respond that I knew that, but instead I asked, “You wanted help?”

“There’s another plow.”  She pointed, and a few feet away, there one definitely was, though I’d not noticed it before.  And though hers was obviously old, this one was spanking new.

“But… um…” I stammered.  “What’s the point?”

“You won’t understand until you commit to the job,” the old woman answered.  She let go of her plow handle, and her back, which had been hunched, straightened as she came over and placed her wrinkled hands on mine.  “Boy,” she said, “Commit, and you’ll find yourself in another Kingdom –a glorious Kingdom.  The plowing does much more than you can see from your world’s vantage point.”

“You’re from another kingdom?” I asked.

The old woman’s eyes pierced into mine and rapidly her face changed to that of a teenage girl.  The age spots became freckles and the silver hair turned reddish-blonde.  She broke out into the most beautiful smile imaginable and said simply, “Absolutely.”  Then she turned back to her plow and gripping it with determination, began plowing again.

I stood there a few moments not knowing what to think or do.  Then I walked over to the waiting plow and stared at it, puzzled.  Gradually, I noticed something very odd.  Within the shiny paint there was movement.  I bent down to inspect it more closely.  No mistaking it.  There were people inside.  In fact, I could see it was part of a city.  Startled, I jumped up with a yelp.  The woman came back around with her plow, the rainbow light still encircling her.  “Are you okay?” she asked.

I couldn’t help but notice that my new friend once again appeared very old and that her back looked painfully hunched.  Even so, her cheerful disposition made her lovely.

“I’m a little un-nerved,” I replied.

“Yea, well…” the woman said slowly. “Don’t choose to start plowing unless you’re sure.  And once you put your hand to it, don’t let anything tempt you to change your mind.”

I couldn’t help allowing my expression to reveal uncertainty.

The old woman took a few steps, ready to continue her plowing, but then she stopped as if she’d decided to tell me something she hadn’t planned to tell me.  She took out her handkerchief again and held it up.  “See?  It’s just an ordinary dirty cloth that needs washing.  But what did it catch?”

“Sweat..?” I said tentatively.

“Yes, sweat,” she said matter-of-factly.

I waited for her to go on, wondering what she was getting at now.

The old woman’s eyes twinkled.  “I plow.  My sweat drops.  The drops go into the ground.”

I waited for her to finish.

“Sometimes I stop and squeeze out the hanky.”  She paused, then added, “Do you understand?”

I didn’t understand at all.  “Um… no…” I said.

This time she whispered.  “The ground is magical.”  She nodded excitedly as if I now completely understood.

No, I didn’t understand.  In fact, I felt exasperated.

Sensing my frustration, the woman reached into another pocket in her overalls and jingled something inside.  Her eyebrows raised like she was questioning me.

“Money?”  I tried to guess.

She shook her head.  “Jewels,” she whispered.  “Our beads of sweat grow into jewels!”

I didn’t believe her, but I didn’t want to be rude.  “Really?”

“Uh-huh.”  And she took a fist-full out of her pocket and opened her hand.

The brilliance of the jewels blinded me and I gasped.

“Don’t touch them,” she said, “or they’ll turn to little pebbles in your hand.  Why?  Because they’re my beads of sweat, not yours.”

“That’s incredible,” I said.  “You probably have enough there to buy all of Tahiti –and a mansion besides.”

“Naw,” the old woman said.  “I cash them in for books and bread and water.  See, everyone who plows, finds.  Then we take our jewels to the King and He gives us copies of His Book.  We take these Books to the poor and lame and blind and deaf and sick, and whoever accepts the Book and reads it and believes in it, is healed by it and lives off the living Bread and Water that flows within its pages.”

“Wow,” I said.  “You have almost persuaded me to put my hand to that available plow.”

The woman nodded and smiled.  “Yes, but there’s also a cost.”  And with her words, I all at once noticed her crippled hands and the scars on her face, and that her hunched back seemed more pronounced than ever.  And that she now looked very, very old.

“Thank you so much,” I said solemnly.  “Thank you for telling me all of this.”

“One day you can thank the King,” she said.  “He opened your eyes to see me –to see me plowing, and to show you your opportunity.”

I looked over at the shiny plow waiting for me.  “Thank you,” I said again.

“Go on,” she said, then added, “I hope to see you soon in some field.  There are many fields, you know.”

I walked slowly back to the shiny plow and stood for a while, thinking.  When I glanced back toward the woman, she had already become a small, hazy light on the far hill.

I stood there trying to decide.

~~~~~~~

That was just a little story I wrote last night after thinking about how Mark 4:34 tells us that Jesus did not say anything to the people without using a parable and what reason Jesus gives for this.  He says it is so that those outside the Kingdom can hear, but not understand; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.  (v. 11,12)  How strange, someone might think.  Yet this Isa. 6:9,10 passage is quoted several times in the New Testament.  The passage’s meaning is a secret.  (v. 11)  But it is not kept a secret for those who search out the meaning (Matt. 13:11-16), who search to find the Truth and know Him fully (John 14:5-7,23), who sell all they have to buy the Jewel (Matt. 13:44-46), who leave all to follow Him (Luke 14:26,27,33), and who put their hand to the plow and never look back.  (9:62)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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