08.30.2020 | CAMPFIRE STORIES | Wk 1: “The Workers in the Vineyard”
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What was the worst job you’ve ever had? Why?
Begin by reflecting on the “Four Ground Rules For Reading the Parables” from Sunday’s sermon:
- The parables use short, fictional stories to draw parallels between something we understand & Jesus, his mission, & the Kingdom of God.
- The parables seek to make us wrestle, not give us clear answers or simple moral/theological lessons. They are stories that never have one, simple, clear interpretation.
- The parables are universal & timeless in their truths/themes, but highly contextual in their content.
- The parables are always meant to be provocative & they demand a response from the audience.
Do any of these rules clash with how you’ve approached or been taught the parables in the past?
Why do you think Jesus uses stories rather than lectures to teach some of these big truths about himself & God?
Read Matthew 20:1-12. First, reflect on the characters.
What are your first impressions of the Landowner?
What do you make of the first workers hired? Why are they resentful at the end? What is the substance of their complaint? Do you relate to these characters?
Next, read Matthew 20:13-16.
Why does the Landowner respond the way he does? How do you feel about his response?
Close by reflecting on the challenge of this parable.
What is provocative about this story?
How might it challenge how we see others, ourselves, & our world? THINK: where we find value, our understanding of fairness, generosity, greed, etc.
What response do you think Jesus wants us to have at the end of this parable?
How do you think this story should change us in the here & now?
Getting Out of the Hole
Take each week of this series to reflect about the nature of the parables & each parable we cover. Consider taking the following approach:
- Commit to reading the parable at least 3 times during the week.
- Each time, meditate on each character. What do they do? What does this reveal about their character? Try to identify with each character – enter into the story.
- Reflect on anything that stands out as odd or surprising as the parable is told. Look for anything that seems unexpected or provocative.
- Take time at the end of each session to write down a few words on how & where this parable might challenge you – in your relationships, values, assumptions, worldview, etc.
- Close with prayer.
Journal, reflect, & pray over these parables. Ask Jesus to help you see where you need to hear his message & change through his stories. Share your experience with your growth group next week!
Short Stories with Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi by Amy-Jill Levine
Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus by Klyne Snodgrass
Kingdom, Grace, & Judgment in the Parables of Jesus by Robert Farrar Capon
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, September 6: Join us for the next week of our series Campfire Stories, where we will be exploring the Parable of the Good Samaritan!
* Please see mye3.org for details.