Parable of the Man of God

man of godThere was a young man of God, and God said to Him  “Son, I want to show you some things that are on My heart.”  And so God took him and showed him the very house of God where God dwelt.  And God took him by the hand, for he was a son to Him, and led the man through His great house until they came to a certain room.  And God opened the door for the man to enter and he looked around the room with great wonder, for the room  was coloured in such brilliant hues of deep blue as the man had never before seen.  And God said to the man: “I am giving you this room to look after, because you are my son.  Please furnish this room and use it wisely for My glory, and remember who I am.”  The man was overjoyed at being trusted with such responsibility and set to work straight away to make it exactly as He thought God would want it. 

Before long, God came again to the man, took him by the hand and said: “Son, I want to show you something else also.” God led him to another, bigger room in His great house and opened the door. This time the man saw a glorious room coloured in deepest shades of gold.  And his heart began to think of all the ways in which he could make this room even more beautiful.  And God said “Son, I am giving you this room because I delight in you.  Keep this room for Me, furnish it to My glory, and remember who I am.”  So the man set to work straight away and soon he was happy working hard on both the brilliant blue room and the glorious gold room, arranging them exactly the way he thought God would want. 

And God came yet a third time to the man of God. Once more He took him by the hand and led him to another room in His great house, an even larger room than the first two.  God opened the door and the man saw that this room was coloured in the richest tones of deepest scarlet that he had ever seen.  Then God said, “Son, this room is special to Me, and I have been looking for someone I can trust to look after it and furnish it properly.  I am giving you this room because I love you.  Please decorate this room and keep it to My glory, and remember who I am.”   

And as the man looked on the beautiful scarlet room he began to think of how he would like it to look if it were in his own house.  And the thought came to this man that he must be a very responsible and clever person for God to entrust such important things to him.   

So now the man began running between the three different rooms, working hard to make each of them as perfect as he could.  When he was working in the brilliant blue room he thought there could not be a more beautiful place to work in all the world and his whole heart was consumed with making it better and better.  And when he worked in the glorious gold room, he thought “surely this is the finest place a man could ever have to work”, and the blue room faded into the back of his mind. When he was in the rich scarlet room he could think of nothing else but the importance of completing that most wonderful room. 

And the man worked very hard for many years on getting everything just right in all three rooms, but no matter how hard he worked somehow things never seemed to be completed to his satisfaction.  More and more the joy with which he had begun was replaced by frustration and weariness.   Still he kept running between each of the rooms, working even harder, because he had come to believe He had been given this responsibility because he was the only person who could perform it the way God wanted. 

But there came a day when the man had no strength left to apply himself to his tasks.  Casting his work tools away, he threw himself down on his face in great anguish, crying out to God:  “God, I know that you have given me these responsibilities in Your great house because of my gifts and my talents in being able to make things good and beautiful, but no matter how hard I work on these three rooms, I have never been satisfied.  There is always something I see that needs improvement and I cannot bring these rooms You gave me to completion as I wish to.   Why did you give me such a hard job to do for You? I don’t want it anymore. Let someone else do it. There must be something else You have for me!”   

And God came knowingly alongside the man who was lying on his face weeping.  And God said:  “Oh yes, my son, there is something else, something far greater, that I have wanted you to see all these years.  But You have been so consumed in proving how well you can perform for me that you have missed the very thing I wanted so badly for you to see.” Then God said to the man:  “Watch!”   

And He put His mighty Hand over the three beautiful rooms and merged them together, layer upon layer.  “What do you see?”  God said to the man.  At first the man answered bitterly: “I see nothing but the rooms I have been working on so hard for You for so long.”  He felt so sorry for himself that he could see only through his own tears.  Gently wiping the tears form the man’s eyes God said “Look closer”.   

And as the man began to truly want to see whatever it was God could see, the man caught glimpse of part of a mysterious face.  Gradually his spiritual eyes adjusted to take in the fullness of that which was being revealed to him. Before him the most amazing, glorious, lovely Face he had ever seen gazed back at him with eyes of deepest compassion and love.  Suddenly his heart leapt inside him as he realised he must be gazing into the  Face of Jesus.  And the Voice of God came again to the man, and he heard God say:  “Behold, my Beloved Son!”   

And as the man beheld the Face of Jesus, all the brilliance and the glory and the richness of the wonderfully coloured rooms faded into dullness.  And he whispered in humility and joy to God:  “Father, tell me how is it that I could have missed His glorious Face all these years?” 

And God the Father replied:  “I gave you special places in my heart, not because you deserved them but because I love you.  But you became so consumed with  your own importance, you failed to find the greater thing I was revealing to you.   The one vision that is greater than any other vision, ministry or calling I  give those I love is the revelation of My Son.  It was always My desire for you to behold His Face above all else, but you did not, because you forgot who I am. I have been waiting for you to come to where you are now so I could show you My greater perspective.”

At last the man of God understood and he wept bitter tears because of all the years he had wasted working at the details while missing the greater picture.  And then he wept tears of joy because for the first time in all those years he was deeply satisfied.  All that he had been yearning and searching for was complete and perfect right there in the lovely Face of Jesus.  And the man of God sighed a great sigh of contentment as his thirsty eyes drank in the glories of God’s Son.   Finally he had found rest. 

“Yes, Lord,” he whispered, sinking deeply into the embrace of Christ, “You were right.  It is indeed finished.”  

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

2 Corinthians 4:6 

© Cheryl McGrath, Bread for the Bride, 2014   Copyright Notice: Permission is granted to freely reproduce any Bread for the Bride articles in emails or internet blogs, unaltered, and providing this copyright notice is included.     To permanently display an article on any static website please contact me for permission.



Categories: Life in Christ, Storytelling, The Bride of Christ, The Kingdom, Words of Grace and Truth

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19 replies

  1. This is so beautiful. A cool drink of water.

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  2. This parable broke my heart, or at least the ice around it. Jesus found me, all messed up, some 8 years ago or more. Somewhere along the way I adopted that old Christian vanity claim, “when I accepted Jesus and turned my life over to him.” How did I ever come to believe that rubbish?

    Jesus found me when I was doing “my best,” I had perfected sinning and led a group of sinners who loved me for that. For no good reason, Jesus redeemed me, He showed me all my pain that I had been bearing under a cloak of false living and he took it away replacing it with peace. He gave me things I never imagined I was worthy of, and best of all, he showed me things in his word I had never heard from any man.

    His gifts were so great, I must be of such importance! I must be a modern Apostle, what does he want me to do with all this amazing stuff I had learned. How should I wield all the parables that I decoded.

    Over time, I can’t believe it possible, the Jesus I so fell in love with, I did not trust anymore. I could not believe that Jesus would just want to give to me and want nothing but gratitude in return (if that). Instead I returned to fear, to wondering what would befall me, just as I had always lived before, but now with religion instead of ignorance (I wish that on no human).

    I believe that Jesus withdrawals himself, sometimes, if needed, at the behest of the Father, to show man who is really Life. You might not know that salt is in your food until someone does not put it in. Then you say, “oh it was the salt all along!” Well, when Jesus departs, you notice, and you fall on your face in bitter tears.

    Jesus left Martha and Mary, and Lazurus (the name help of God) soon died. They called for Jesus but he waited because “he loved them.” He returned so that the light would shine again in the dark, for those in the dark stumble. They both came to Jesus, with the same sentence, “Lord, if you had been here, Lazarus would not have died.” However, both meant to entirely different things and came in a totally different way.

    The point is what Mary said, singularly, and in tears, coming to Jesus not of her own volition but because Martha told her to go (note Jesus never told Martha to get Mary). Mary got it, “Jesus if you had been here Lazarus would not have died,” because you are the Ressurection and the Life….You are…Your are Life…Your are the finish line…You are all I need for you are All.

    Well, I sit this moment with my Lazarus buried and in his tomb, I weep often, I am bitter often. I need Jesus to come back so I can fall at his feet, and just remain this time. So I can pour my oil upon his precious skin and tell him that I know understand, and as Job said, I am nothing.

    I know he is not going to return, this time, in manner that I can then say, at a later date, it is because of I figured this out that he returns. He is coming back at an hour, that only the Father knows, but I can barely bear living anymore, I need him back, I am so dead without the fullness of his being. He is the beautiful face that is all three rooms in one.

    I ask that all who read this would petition the Father to bring that hour forward, that I may live in Jesus forever, knowing for eternity it was all always just him. I need your prayers my brothers and sisters.

    To the writer of this post, the love of Jesus shines on you and out of you for this most amazing and beautiful parable of the Holy Spirit. I now wait, anxiously for the completion of this promise of Jesus for me in John 16:

    “Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

    Please ask with me all, I want my Jesus to come home…all the way home in me and my Joy to be made complete and eternal, this time, to His Glory.

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    • Hello Rob,
      I want to thank you sincerely for sharing so honestly here the pain you are experiencing. I want to avoid dishing out any ‘pat’ pre-formulated answers or advice concerning what you have shared. I hear your anguish but more than that I also hear the depth of your heartcry that Jesus might be glorified in you. The Jesus I know will respond to that heartcry. I believe implicitly that He is the One who will not break a bruised reed or quench smoking flax. I believe that the Jesus you knew before will reveal Himself to you again, but this time in even more intimacy, even more beauty than you knew in Him previously. It may be that He is already doing so, but you are not yet recognising Him, even as Mary Magdalene did not at first know the risen Christ. He will not leave you in grief and heartbreak and even now is calling your name lovingly. My prayer is that you will be granted ears to hear and I believe it will be so.

      I believe there may be others who subscribe to this blog who can also speak gently and wisely in response to your post and invite such ones to also respond.
      CM

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      • Dear brother Rob, I have just re-read Cheryl’s blog and your response to it. I must confess that I needed to do that in order to more fully understand the parable and sense a tiny bit of your pain and searching.
        Just this morning I read the story of a ‘Toddler Fleeing Syria Found Crossing Desert Alone’ in TIME. It relates how (and there is a colour photo of the rescue) United Nations staff found four-year-old Marvan carrying his worldly possessions in a plastic bag alone in the desolate Jordanian desert. The child was fleeing the horrific current violence in Syria and somehow had been separated from his relatives. The UN team are seen graciously befriending the little boy. Obviously they rescued him from certain death in the desert, for the report has no other details except to say, ‘Marwan and the family were later re-united!’
        Might this be another pointer for us all as desert- travellers?
        I turned 70 on Sunday, looking back on 38 often self-reliant and frustrating ‘desert years’ serving as a pastor in the institutional church. During that period, amid some joys, my family and I suffered greatly both individually and corporately – including acute clinical depression on the part of my wife, my son and I. Our older daughter was viciously gang-raped and left for dead by 4 prisoners out on bail. A tiny group of believers in our congregation sowed division among the flock causing us to leave our congregation of 23 years and trust God as those who ‘did not know where they were going.’ And so I could go on.
        Through the latter event, exactly 7 years ago, the Lord sovereignly engineered our exit from the institutional church. Today my wife and I and all three our married children (and 6 grandchildren) serve the Lord in freedom, joy and peace. I told our small fellowship group on Sunday that these past 7 years have been the happiest of our life. Yes, we continue to be misunderstood and often shunned, but JESUS has never forsaken us even though we disappoint him every day in one way or another.
        Sorry for the LONG story, but I want to encourage you in your present pain never to give up.
        I think our emotions can often play games with us, but as Cheryl pointed out very wisely I believe, Jesus actually never really leaves his children. Few know that Mother Theresa faithfully served the poor in India for decades without ‘any sensible perception of the presence of God.’
        I don’t have the answers to our desert-times, I don’t think anyone has.
        In the mean time, I join your fellow-pilgrims around the world in remembering you before the throne.
        Grace, mercy and peace…

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  3. Beautiful post, written through the heart of our Father who desires above all to have His expression through His Son, and for us to treasure, Love and adore His Son.

    The scripture leaps off the screen;

    For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    2 Corinthians 4:6

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  4. Is it not interesting how as our eyes begin to be opened we are able to see the face of Jesus Christ in previously not so obvious places? It is indeed true, “when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed..”. thank you Cheryl for the revealing of Christ in this parable – I can for sure identify with the man at more than point..

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  5. The finished work of the Cross. He has done it all. Now we are IN Him and He IN us….we are one. Living in the reality of that oneness, we are the manifestation of Him. So glad we can chuck the entire performance-thing. 🙂

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    • Yes, but to many of us it has been little more than a wonderful theory, not a living reality. The Spirit is changing that. This is the season of the Kingdom. We have entered a season when Christ in us is going to be the reality, not a theory. As you have said, ‘living in the reality of that oneness….’ Amen!

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    • HI Dollea, it is nice to see you writing here. I agree with you! I see my Father God as my Great Daddy. He just adores me, so I run to Him with a full heart and anticipation of His goodness. I have gotten to know Him more lately as I have become closer and closer to Jesus. Wow, and the Holy Ghost inhabits my home and prayers, my very life. With all this activity going on, it is getting difficult to see the house for His Face. I like it this way much better. Thank you Cheryl for the insightful story.

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  6. The story of many lives. I recognise myself in it also, especially in the years of pastoring institutional churches. Since leaving that place I am slowly learning the lesson… Thanks, Cheryl.

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  7. Thank you for the insightful parable. As I have worked with others, I often catch sight of Jesus as He interacts with their needs. At one point even though I was earnestly desiring to see Him, He spoke to me saying, “You are seeing Me.” I almost missed the obvious revealing of Himself to me.
    God bless you for pointing us to Him.

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    • Hello Wayne and thankyou for your comments. The man of God in the parable represents all of us I think. I too can think of many people I have known at all levels of church life, both men and women, who could fit the profile of the man in this parable. But I can also see my own journey reflected in the story so clearly. The fullness of Christ, with its deeply satisfying rest, has always been and remains our destination, but the religious lifestyles we have built around us prevent us discerning the forest from the trees. Thankfully many are now discovering what it is to sink deeply into Christ and just BE.
      CM

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