Why do I like Jesusâ€™ parables so much? The ambiguity.
In the parable of the poor widow challenging the powerful judge, what happened to them once she â€œreceivedâ€ justice?
Did the fellow the Samaritan found become a better man once he was healed and on his feet? Or did he ever heal?
What happened to the workers near the end of the line, following only an hour of working, after they received their â€œequalâ€ wages?
Ah, the questions! Ambiguity and uncertainty define part of a parableâ€™s strength.
Yes, of course, we are then invited to abstractly wonder, â€What happens next?â€ Or, â€œWhat would I do?â€ Sometimes the end of a parable matters as much as offering a single potato chip to a starving person. Focus on whatâ€™s most important for you to mull over, even if it scares the crap out of you.
And . . . I hope enough of the ambiguity lingers in the â€œreal worldâ€ and we realize that every concrete encounter can be experienced with fresh and refreshed eyes. Let uncertainty birth discovery. Parables invite us to be the Lewis and Clark of relationships . . . and of our own hearts.