There was a young man who did his best to follow all of the laws of Moses. But he knew that it was impossible to do everything the law commanded and lived in fear of God’s punishment.
Then one day a new rabbi came to his village. This rabbi preached a message unlike any he had ever heard. He did not bring more rules to follow or talk about the punishment of a sinful life. Instead he talked about the message of Jesus who summarized the entire law with 2 simple rules – “Love God”and “Love others”.
The man was baptized and began to follow the rabbi wherever he went. The man loved listening to the rabbi, but it was the rabbi’s ability to heal the sick that really excited him.
One day he approached his teacher and asked, “Master, how can I learn to heal people like you?”
The rabbi answered him saying, “A caterpillar spends its day crawling around in the dirt and eating leaves. Then, one day, the caterpillar falls asleep. It sleeps for many weeks. When it wakes it notices that something happened while it slept and it is not happy. Its many legs have been replaced by just 6. It wonders how it is supposed to walk now. It has 2 enormous, brightly coloured wings on its back. It wonders how it is supposed to hide from all of its enemies now. After complaining about the unfairness of it all, it comes to the conclusion that it is just needs to learn to live with the changes. Should the caterpillar-now-a-butterfly live the second half of its life as it did the first – crawling in the dirt and eating leaves?”
The man was confused and said, “Master, I don’t understand. What does this mean?”
The rabbi answered, “You were once a caterpillar crawling in the dirt. You have been transformed and are now a butterfly, yet you continue to crawl in the dirt. You have been given wings. Stop crawling in the dirt and fly.”
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” And in his first letter to the Corinthians he says, ” And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.”
Paul’s message and the message of this parable is that each of us has been gifted with the ability to change lives. Some of us have the ability to heal, others the ability to preach, still others the ability to teach. Do not ignore these gifts, but instead use them to glorify the one who gave them to you.