One thing about parables…you need to explain them. Jesus told 46 parables in the Bible and they have been used to teach lessons about living the Christian life and also taught as truths for making decisions. I am definitely not Jesus, and my parables will be weak at best. But this may be something that will help a person who can relate to the story itself and encourage them in a time of doubt or confusion. Today’s blog is part 2 of the Ranch blog and part 1 of the explanation of the parable in part 1 of the blog. First of all, the man in the parable was “working” or moving about doing his chores around the perimeter of his house, which was on his land. The land was much bigger than just the area around his house, but his main chores were at home close to water, bathrooms….conveniences. His eyes looked out along the fence that stretched well beyond the area by his house and barns, and they saw a fence line that did not end at the edge of the property. That fence line was put in by the former owner of the house and the barns, and it came with the property. The rancher had never checked the fence line, but he knew that he needed to because the former owner told him the fence could get a little weak in some places because of storms and wild animals crossing it. So he set out to take what he thought would be a nice walk and work a little along the way. He thought “I will take a bottle of water in case I get a little thirsty as I walk.” He looked back at a perfectly good four wheeler as he left the ranch thinking that he needed the exercise and this would be a great chance to get some good cardio.
Let me stop here and explain some things that could be truths that will help.
1. The ranch was already in good working order when he received it and it was his responsibility to keep it up and keep it in good working order. This represents the faith that we have that has been passed down through many years by great sacrifice of those who established it. We are commissioned to not only read about it, but own it. The ranch is our life in Christ. Colossians 3:3-4 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
2. Since it was now his, it was now important that he take on the same attitude about working the ranch that the former owner had lived by. God’s Word has given us clear instructions about developing our lives in accordance with God’s Word and His standards for living. 1 Peter 3:15 But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do. 1 Corinthians 2:16 – Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
3. His desire to check his fences is the ongoing growing process that happens in a believers life that is seeking to know more of God and His ways. Those ways cannot be found just hanging around the same place all the time. We desire great change in our lives. Change that grows us in our walk with Jesus. Change that stretches us in our faith and causes us to walk into unknown areas in search of a deeper walk with God. In fact staying around the ranch all the time just inhibits the growth God wants in our lives. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behind, new things have come. (change) Lamentations 3:40 – Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.
4. Why even go out checking the fence? Because the curiosity of all God has in store for him is drawing him into deeper water, metaphorically speaking, and calling him to a deeper walk. From time to time I meet up with a like-minded soul who has the same desire to see God do a great thing and is very frustrated with how the church is functioning and failing. Invariably we fall into the “what ifs” in discussing how God could really do a great work if Christians would pursue God beyond the comfort of the ranch. This is not a pipe dream of dissatisfied, ADHD, people who need to settle down. These are the discussions of dreamers who still believe God can and will do a great work and they are seeking beyond the comfort of the ranch to pursue God doing it. Most people have succumbed to the fact that the ranch is all there is and we should be satisfied with just working around it and leave the fence and the mountains to themselves. Not the dreamer. We believe that God can use us to do an extraordinary thing and that God’s power will enable it to happen. We feel what the rancher feels when he looks toward the fence line to the area he can’t see. Time to go check fences in new territories. The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians in Colossians 2:6-7 (The Message) My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you have been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live in Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You’re well constructed upon Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! It’s time to get out on the fence line and begin walking the walk in different places than the familiar. Time to think outside the box, but think in accordance with God’s Word. If you are troubled in your faith right now, that could be a good thing and God is ready to call you out to the fences beyond your sight. Perhaps your fence might take you to a new church start, a mission venture, a neighbor’s doorstep, or a deeper walk into God’s Word. Whatever it is, you should be a willing person of faith and pursue it, because God’s Call is fresh and new and exciting, but it requires “real faith.”
I will explain more of the parable in the next blog. I hope today has been as challenging to you as it has been to me and may God’s richest blessings be on your life as you pursue the “ways of God.” Walk with God in a close relationship and He will show you many great fences to follow.
Psalm 42:7 When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of You. From Jordan depths to Hermon Heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, Your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer.
The Pilgrimage continues..