“I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”
“If your heart were right, then every created thing would be a mirror of life, and a book of sacred doctrine. There is no creature so small and worthless that it does not show forth the goodness of God.” Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Mirrors of life. Books of sacred doctrine. We’ll miss them if we’re not paying attention. It was Jesus Himself who taught us the importance of paying attention:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” Luke 12:22-28
Consider the ravens. Consider the lilies. The Hebrew word is “katanoeo,” which means, literally, “to take note of.” Essentially, Jesus is saying to us, "Look around! Are you taking notice? Are you paying attention to the things around you?"
Jesus’ teaching style was to use familiar, everyday scenarios that His audience would relate to in order to teach Kingdom truths. But was it God’s intention that all truth about the Kingdom would be tidily summarized in the several specific parables Jesus taught?
Is Scripture simply a historical narrative that not only contains truth, but is sole guardian of all of it? Is it God’s wish that we limit our understanding of His nature and His ways to that which can be described by (and only by) birds and lilies, and the moon and the stars? Is it His intention in giving these words to us that we accept them at face value? That we not extrapolate them to our context?
“Stop and consider God’s wonders.” Job 37:14
Or, might there be wisdom in the parables of Jesus deeper than what we see on their surface? Was Jesus, in elucidating the specific Kingdom truth of those parables also teaching us, here in the 21st century, how to observe life around us, looking for our own parables, for new Kingdom truths perhaps? In imparting truth through the audiovisuals of His audience’s context, was Jesus also teaching us, in our personal discovery processes, to use the audiovisuals He gives us in the 21st century?
The latter is the case. In fact, Scripture itself teaches us to look at and to consider the things we see and experience as we think about God and His design and purposes for our lives. Jesus Himself taught us that observing and reflecting on the things around us: nature, relationships, social structures, stories and events, and so on, all can provide insights that have value to our spiritual lives.
Ever aware of His surroundings, Jesus modeled for us what it is like to appreciate all things as God-given truths, nothing less than divine insights into the way things are. Mirrors of life. Books of sacred doctrine.
God has placed life lessons all around us. We just need to katanoeo.