Parables and Fables

Treasure can come in many different ways; A good meal with friends, a quiet beautiful sunset, the laughter of children playing.  One thing that I definitely treasure are any drops of wisdom that I can acquire on my life’s journey.  They can more valuable than gold and silver.

I wanted to infuse this thought in the board game Treasure Trove as players traverse the world collecting fabled treasures.  We all fantasize about what it would be like to find lost treasure in an attic, or win the lottery, or what it what be like to have come up with Facebook.  It is human nature to wonder about such things.  And yet, the important things of life are right in front of us, if we choose to see them.  If we choose to search for them right under our noses.

I choose to place within the situation cards drops of wisdom that have come from all religions that remind us of spiritual truths.  I think it is God’s way of trying to teach us to search for the spiritual things of our lives, not just physical blessings.

Many truths about something of great value in God’s Kingdom are often conveyed in the sense of something that would be of value such as gold or diamonds.  One of the situation cards describes a large pearl, one of great value.  Most of you would recognize the saying as that of Jesus, who often taught in parables.

Have you ever tried to define what a parable is?  What is a fable?  We have an idea what they are, basically, short stories with fictional characters that have a moral lesson.  People love stories, and these are a great way to teach, which Christ did.

Included within the game is a booklet that gives brief descriptions of the treasures on the game board.  Some real, some only myths, and some of the treasures I just made up.  A footnote section at the back of the instructional booklet lists real treasure findings.  There is also some discussion about things on the game board.  What is an archeologist?  Who was Dr. Livingston?  What is a herpetologist?  Where is Shangri-La?

The following comment was placed in the footnote section concerning the difference between a parable and a fable.     

A parable is a brief story that illustrates a moral or religious lesson.  It differs from a fable that uses animals or inanimate objects as actors while parables generally feature human actors.  Jesus often taught his followers by use of parables.”

I don’t think people take the time to read the booklet given with the game.  Most of the time we are in too big of a hurry, including when we are playing the board game.  Such is the pace of our lives.  Consequently, we miss a lot of lot of little factoids, and truths. It takes time to search for those drops of wisdom and truth, but they can make the playing of the game that much more rewarding.  I think our lives are often the same way.  We are searching for life’s treasure often in the wrong places. 

Early this morning I read from the book of Matthew, Chapter 5.  Not one of the parables of Jesus, but his Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes. Now that is real treasure.  I could read it ever day, and never get tired of it.  If I had a large diamond, I suppose I would love looking at every day, but I don’t.  Instead, I will enjoy my treasure of living for Christ, and holding onto those beatitudes.

Crown of Pearls


     The way nature creates a pearl is fascinating to me.  I remember first learning about pearls one summer while swimming as a young child.  My family spent a week visiting a lake cabin in central Texas.  Sometimes we would water ski, or at least I tried to do so,and sometimes we would spend hours just swimming on the lakeshore beside the cabin.  We loved jumping on and off the boat dock into the cool water as we tried to evade the Texas heat.  Sometimes we would hide from each other swimming underneath the dock. 

         I recall one time when my oldest brother surfaced from going below the water up with what looked like a huge oyster.  I thought oysters were in the ocean, not lakes, so that surprised me.  At the time I thought it was an oyster, but I now realize it was not.  It sure looked like one.  I believe it must have been just one big mussel.  He yelled with excitement, “Look what I found, maybe it has a pearl in it.”  I did not know what he was talking about.  “What do you mean I asked?”  He placed the oyster on the dock as my brothers and a cousin gathered around.  “Pearls come from oysters,” he said.  “What?” I asked.  He responded, “If a piece of sand gets inside the oyster it forms a pearl, that’s how pearls are made.  Let’s pry him open and find out.”  We tried to squeeze the thing open with no success.  My cousin headed for the lake house and returned with a knife.  The oyster was eventually pried open and sure enough…………there was no pearl.  I felt sorry for the oyster.  He must have lived a long time and was now penalized for being big.


        I have never looked at pearls the same.  I could have cared less about pearls before that, but since that time have been intrigued when I see a pearl necklace.  I enjoyed reading John Steinbeck’s The Pearl for English class in high school.  The pearl fisherman found his once in a lifetime find of the perfect large pearl, only too lose it all to soon when he gave it to a doctor who was trying to save his son’s life from an unfortunate poisonous insect bite.  I often thought of my older brother’s oyster find asI read the novel.  I had heard that most pearls came from the Far East.  I envisioned Japanese divers swimming to great depth to search for big oysters.  I also surmised that pearls probably came from the Persian Gulf.  That would make sense, and to a certain extent it was true.  The fact is that for centuries the finest pearls came from the Persian Gulf.  Today some of the largest pearls are found off the shores of Indonesia.  Additionally, as you know, most pearls today are artificially produced.  Most do not come from actual oysters.         

        All religions of the world use gold, silver and diamonds to convey images of beauty and value.  King Solomon described wisdom as being more valuable than gold and silver.  The book of Revelation in the New Testament describes heaven as a place of beautify with gold abundant.  The Koran describes those who enter paradise will be crowned with pearls of beautiful luster. 

        On the board game TreasureTrove I placed a Crown of Pearls where the Persian Gulf is located.  The footnote section of the game instructional booklet mentions that pearl diving has been going on in the Persian Gulf for over 4,000 years, and that to the Islamic people a pearl symbolizes completeness and perfection.  The world we live in values things of beauty such as a single pearl, as well as things we hope for such as a Crown of Pearls.

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