Christ’s parables exemplify everyday people who experience common challenges and changes in their lives. Upon reflection, we may find that our own lives can become a parable.
Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, parables illustrate how gospel principles can apply to the lives of ordinary people. For example, the parable of the lost sheep follows a lowly shepherd who, while tending his flocks, goes searching when just one sheep has wandered away. While many of us may never be shepherds, we will all experience moments of feeling lost or forgotten; the parable uses this common experience to teach us about the Savior’s love for each of God’s children.
Countless parables like this have taught us some of the most profound spiritual lessons. Frank F. Judd Jr. reflects extensively on parables in his Ensign article “Parables of Jesus: The Priceless Parables.” He defines a parable as “a simple story in which the narrator compares the common experiences of his listeners to some divine truth.” While the key to interpreting parables lies in the context of the time period in which they were given, the application of Christ’s parables lies in the pondering of what it means for us today.
This practice of pondering can also uncover the spiritual principles that are folded into our own histories. Occasionally, our thoughts might try to convince us that our life is nothing of importance. However, hidden in the daily lives of ordinary people are important spiritual lessons at work. If we take the time to reflect on them, we may find that these lessons are an important resource for teaching ourselves and others gospel principles in the modern day.
Frank F. Judd Jr. counsels, “Your diligent study and application of the parables of Jesus will bring you closer to the central purpose of life: to come unto Christ and live His gospel.” If we shift our perspective to consider how Christ might use the story of our lives to teach a gospel principle, would we live differently—with more faith, more patience, more hope? What would we change to make our lives a parable?
Continue exploring the interpretation and application of parables by reading Frank F. Judd Jr.’s article “Parables of Jesus: The Priceless Parables” from the January 2003 Ensign.
—Hannah Ackerman, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY ANTONELLO FALCONE
Find more insights
Read the Church Newsroom article “BYU Scholar Shares 4 Keys for Understanding the Savior’s New Testament Parables” by Trent Toone for more insight on interpreting and applying parables.
Learn more about how to remain faithful through trials by reading Lydia Mercado’s article “Getting Your Feet Wet: The Faith To Act” on Latter-day Saint Insights.
View exquisite illustrations of some of Christ’s most notable parables in “Parables of the Master,” a collection of art pieces shared in the July 2007 Ensign.