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Bob Goff tells the story of passing an art gallery every day and the same painting catching his eye. It was called the Puppeteer and was a painting of a father with his children and family gathered around him and he entertaining them by pulling on the strings of a puppet. He liked that painting because that’s the way he saw himself as a puppeteer with his children and grandchildren gather around. Each time Bob passed the gallery, he pressed his nose against the window and said, “Yes, you will be mine.” He had to save for a year. When he saved almost enough, for the final amount, he was ready to put the dog on eBay but he got overruled by the family.

But here was another reason he liked that painting. It reminded him of how Jesus invites us to gather around him as he tells captivating stories about a better life, a bigger life and a greater love. He then goes on to tell the story of how during his first year of marriage, his wife thought he had hearing problem so she made an appointment for him. After the doctor put on the headphones, she went to the other room and began the test. He was disappointed that the doctor wasn’t playing Van Halen but instead a series of sounds and he heard every one. After the test, she sat down with Bob and his wife to go over the results. She confirmed that he could hear perfectly but then she said he suffered from selective hearing and tuned out the things he didn’t want to hear. When his wife Maria heard that she started to tap her foot and give him the dirty eye. And then he writes, “I realize that what was so frustrating for Maria was a similar issue I have with God…I only hear the things from God I want to hear and it makes me wonder if He doesn’t think I’m going a little deaf.” Jesus’ teaching in his parables are difficult lessons, hard lessons and challenging lessons. Sometimes when we come to God’s Word, we only want to hear the nice things, the loving things and the easy things. But Jesus’ parables challenge us to work and to work hard to hear the voice of God and the truths of the Kingdom and about ourselves. The only question is if we are going to put in the time and effort or if instead, are we’re going to have selective hearing.

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