Planting GPS devices in your neighborhood

Biblical parable, Matthew 13:3–9

Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.

The Parable of the Global Positioning System (GPS)

A man went out to give GPS devices to the people in his town.

Brent took the GPS that the man handed him and stood by the side of the road looking at. A kid on a skateboard zoomed by, snatched it out of his hands, jumped the curb, and disappeared around the corner.

Sally took the GPS but had no idea what it was. She pushed a few buttons and jumped in surprise when a voice told her which direction to drive. She followed the verbal directions for a few blocks, but had no idea where she was going. After four or five turns, without a destination in sight, she grabbed it off the dash muttering, “Worthless thing!” and threw it in the back seat of her car with the rest of the garbage.

Ryle immediately programmed his preferences into the GPS: shortest route, fastest time, no waiting, no detours . . .  When the GPS voice directed him to go east—when he was sure that the best route was west—he threw it out the window.

Alexis gladly grabbed the GPS out of the man’s hands and mounted it in her car. Then she picked up her friends and headed for the mall. The voice of the GPS said to turn right and go three miles. Josh whined, “Do you have to go this way? I hate this route.” So Alexis made a u-turn and headed for the expressway. The voice of the GPS said “Recalculating. Stay on the expressway for 2 miles and take Exit 42 east.” “Hey, Allie, take this exit. I need a latte,” Katelyn said. Alexis swerved to the right, cut off two cars, and exited. Lattes in hand, Alexis, Josh, and Katelyn piled back into the car, the voice of the GPS gave directions, and they headed toward the mall once again. “This is a great song, turn it up!” “It needs more bass—crank it.” Josh text messaged friends to meet them at the mall. Katelyn sang along to the music, and Alexis kept telling Josh who to invite. Nobody heard the voice of the GPS giving them directions. As far as anyone can tell, they’re still driving.

Jason thanked the man for the GPS. “I’m not sure how this works, but I’d like to give it a try.” The man handed him the direction book, “Read this.” Jason read the first few pages and gave it a try. He made it to his destination safely and was thrilled. He kept using it, until one day some road work crews blocked his path. He had no idea what to do, so he pulled out the book, read a few more pages, and followed directions. As time went on, he became more and more adept at listening to the voice. It worked so well, he asked the man for more GPS devices to give to his friends. And they gave them to their friends, who gave them to their friends . . .

He who has ears, let him hear.

© Kathleen Evenhouse, May 31, 2011

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