Parable Lessons

Jesus teahing by the sea.jpg

Question: What can we learn from the parables of the Savior?

Answer: The parables of the Savior can have rich meaning for us. They contain important truths of the Gospel.

Matthew 13:44-50

44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (It is worth the sacrificing of whatever it takes to join the Church and to remain faithful.)

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind (the missionary work of the Church gathers all kinds of converts, some sincere who remain faithful, others who are not as sincere):

48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just (the righteous),

50 And shall cast them (the wicked) into the furnace of fire (the burning of the wicked): there shall be wailing (bitter anguish) and gnashing (grinding) of teeth (symbolic of the extreme suffering of the wicked as they face the consequences of their evil choices).

* * * * *

Elder Carl P. Pratt has taught:

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

“Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matt. 13:44–46).

These two parables differ in that the man who found the treasure seems to have done so quite by accident, whereas the merchant man found the pearl after diligent searching.

In both cases the price of acquisition was exactly the same, all that each man had. Concerning the interpretation of these parables, the Prophet Joseph said: “See the Church of the Latter-day Saints, selling all that they have, and gathering themselves together unto a place that they may purchase for an inheritance, and that they may be together and bear each other’s afflictions... See men traveling to find places for Zion and her stakes or remnants, who, when they find the place for Zion, or the pearl of great price, straightway sell that they have, and buy it.”

In the countries of Latin America, it is not unusual for a member of a family to be disowned or ostracized after leaving the traditional church to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have seen people lose their friends, be excluded and persecuted by neighbors, and lose employment because they have embraced the restored gospel, their treasure and pearl. They have had to pay the price in full measure.

São Paulo Brazil Temple.jpg

When we lived in Peru, the nearest temple was a continent away in São Paulo, Brazil. I know Saints who literally sold all they had in order to take their families to the temple. I once dined in the home of such a family. The cleanly swept floor was of hard-packed dirt. A simple meal of chicken soup was to me a true banquet. The walls of the home were of rough-hewn boards, but adorning those walls were a photograph of the temple and the certificate attesting the family’s temple sealing. I marveled at their willingness to sacrifice.

The Parable of the Gospel Net

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

“Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

“And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:47–50).

Concerning the fishermen in this scene, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Behold the seed of Joseph, spreading forth the Gospel net upon the face of the earth, gathering of every kind, that the good may be saved in vessels prepared for that purpose, and the angels will take care of the bad.”

Jesus - children.jpg

I have seen all kinds of people brought into the Church by the gospel net, men, women, and children of all races, cultures, education levels, and economic circumstances. My experience has taught me that while nearly all new converts join the Church with good intentions, they, like the rest of us, are not perfect. It is not enough to be baptized into the true Church. Baptism is merely the gate to the “strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life” (2 Ne. 31:18). Striving to stay on the path, never giving up, pressing “forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope” (2 Ne. 31:20) are what enable us to be among the good who will be gathered into vessels.

What a marvelous wealth of understanding and perspective comes to us from the parables of the Savior. How blessed we are to have modern prophetic assistance as we search the scriptures. These parables have rich, personal meaning for me because I, and those I love so dearly in South America, have “lived” them. Perhaps you have lived them too.

Source: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 47; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 1, Volume 2, by David J. Ridges, p. 41; Excerpts from: New Testament, “Parables of Jesus: Prophecy for Our Day,” by Elder Carl B. Pratt, of the Seventy, Ensign, January 2003.