Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 1: Teaching in Parables
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Christ did not deal in abstract theories, but in that
which is essential to the development of character, that
which will enlarge man's capacity for knowing God, and
increase his efficiency to do good. He spoke to men of those
truths that relate to the conduct of life, and that take hold
It was Christ who directed the education of Israel.
Concerning the commandments and ordinances of the Lord
He said, "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest [p. 24] down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind
them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as
frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them
upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." Deut. 6:7-9.
In His own teaching, Jesus showed how this command is to
be fulfilled—how the laws and principles of God's kingdom
can be so presented as to reveal their beauty and preciousness.
When the Lord was training Israel to be the special
representatives of Himself, He gave them homes among the
hills and valleys. In their home life and their religious
service they were brought in constant contact with nature
and with the word of God. So Christ taught His disciples
by the lake, on the mountainside, in the fields and groves,
where they could look upon the things of nature by which
He illustrated His teachings. And as they learned of
Christ, they put their knowledge to use by co-operating
with Him in His work.
So through the creation we are to become acquainted
with the Creator. The book of nature is a great lesson
book, which in connection with the Scriptures we are to
use in teaching others of His character, and guiding lost
sheep back to the fold of God. As the works of God are
studied, the Holy Spirit flashes conviction into the mind.
It is not the conviction that logical reasoning produces; but
unless the mind has become too dark to know God, the
eye too dim to see Him, the ear too dull to hear His voice,
a deeper meaning is grasped, and the sublime, spiritual
truths of the written word are impressed on the heart.
In these lessons direct from nature, there is a simplicity
and purity that makes them of the highest value. All
need the teaching to be derived from this source. In itself
the beauty of nature leads the soul away from sin and
worldly attractions, and toward purity, peace, and God. [p. 25] Too often the minds of students are occupied with men's
theories and speculations, falsely called science and
philosophy. They need to be brought into close contact with
nature. Let them learn that creation and Christianity have
one God. Let them be taught to see the harmony of the
natural with the spiritual. Let everything which their eyes
see or their hands handle be made a lesson in character
building. Thus the mental powers will be strengthened,
the character developed, the whole life ennobled.
Christ's purpose in parable teaching was in direct
line with the purpose of the Sabbath. God gave to men the
memorial of His creative power, that they might discern
Him in the works of His hand. The Sabbath bids us
behold in His created works the glory of the Creator. And [p. 26] it was because He desired us to do this that Jesus bound
up His precious lessons with the beauty of natural things.
On the holy rest day, above all other days, we should study
the messages that God has written for us in nature. We
should study the Saviour's parables where He spoke them,
in the fields and groves, under the open sky, among the
grass and flowers. As we come close to the heart of nature,
Christ makes His presence real to us, and speaks to our
hearts of His peace and love.
And Christ has linked His teaching, not only with the
day of rest, but with the week of toil. He has wisdom for
him who drives the plow and sows the seed. In the
plowing and sowing, the tilling and reaping, He teaches
us to see an illustration of His work of grace in the heart.
So in every line of useful labor and every association of
life, He desires us to find a lesson of divine truth. Then
our daily toil will no longer absorb our attention and lead [p. 27] us to forget God; it will continually remind us of our
Creator and Redeemer. The thought of God will run like
a thread of gold through all our homely cares and occupations.
For us the glory of His face will again rest upon
the face of nature. We shall ever be learning new lessons
of heavenly truth, and growing into the image of His purity.
Thus shall we "be taught of the Lord"; and in the lot
wherein we are called, we shall "abide with God." Isa.
54:13; 1 Cor. 7:24.
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