The Gospels are rich with examples of how Christ was a great teacher. Even those who do not know much about Jesus are familiar with his pedagogy. Jesus used parables in order to help his disciplines understand the Kingdom of God. Parables come from the Greek word parabole which means "placing two things side by side in order to compare them." Christ told stories from ordinary life, comparing familiar things such as seeds, wheat, yeast, sheep, or nets to unfamiliar truths.
As a scripture teacher, one must ask what might Jesus compare the Kingdom of God to today. The easy answer? some form of technology, but I have challenged them to think beyond the norms. As I was speaking, I noticed a water bottle on my student's desk. I looked around the room and saw several of them. Nalgene, Swell, or Hydro Flask. Students have their own color and iteration; the water bottle is an everyday school supply. I can almost see Him now, "The Kingdom of God is like your water bottle...."
Probing further, I started to think of what else Jesus might reference or where else...A thought came to mind: a thrift store. Pawn shops carry connotations of iniquity, desperate times calling for desperate measures. Thrift stores however are equal opportunity venues. My mom volunteers at one regularly. I drop off donations and always find other treasures. I see young and old, rich and poor, the entire spectrum of humanity can be found in a thrift store (much like the US Post Office). And all the more reason Jesus would preach there and we should go to them. One never knows what he or she will find.
It's cliche for a reason: "One man's trash is another man's treasure." I have a hard time believing that the green jacket awarded by Augusta National Country Club is "trash," However, the coveted blazer was discovered in a thrift store in Toronto. Daily News reported
A tournament jacket from the 1950s that was discovered in a stack of blazers at a Toronto thrift store sold for $139,349 in an online auction early Sunday.
According to the site that hosted the auction, the jacket was purchased for $5 in 1994. However, its journey to Canada is filled with uncertainties.
Though the Augusta National Golf Club confirmed its authenticity, according to the site, the group did not have an answer for the identity of the item’s original owner. The owner’s name was cut out of the jacket, which is one of the earliest in existence, but the unique patch of the course’s logo remains stitched to the breast pocket.I can't imagine how I would react were I looking through the men's jackets. I might say "that's a nice green...huh, that's an awesome patch on the breast plate....it looks rather familiar. What is going on here? Is this some sort of a practical joke?"
I hope I would have it framed and hanging near other golf memories, but the yield is quite tempting! That pays for a whole lot of rounds of golf.
Could the Kingdom of God be like a green jacket from Augusta? Probably not, but I'm certainly open to interpretation. And, the fact that one was found in a thrift store, a place I believe Jesus might reference, it might be. After all, Christ did tell parables about a lost coin in a field and a pearl of great price.
I heard on my PTI Podcast (Pardon the Interruption) that Sergio Garcia is considering wearing his green jacket in his wedding ceremony. While that desire may confound some people, those who love golf and/or the Masters (might0 get it. And, I have a feeling his fianceé Angela Akins might too. Akins, who played golf at the University of Texas now works for the Golf Channel. She is also a significant reason that all signs point to what a different player Garcia has become in the past year.
Sounds for the workings of a great parable to me. Unlikely people in unsuspecting places amidst ordinary and extraordinary things, that is how I have come to know the Kingdom of God. Time for me to donate and go shopping!