The Rich Man and the Poor Man
A Parable for Thanksgiving
I draw a distinction between a "story" and a "parable." Stories should tell the tale, but it's up to the reader to decipher any intented (or unintended) meaning. The author seldom explains the story.
A parable, on the other hand, tells a tale, certainly, but one that deserves (if not begs) an explanation---in some ways, the explanation itself is a part of the tale. In the Bible, for example, Jesus told parables, and their significance, their power, grew not just from the telling, but from the explanation and application.
Parables also have one particular meaning, while stories can live and breath meaning, changing with each reader, or with each reading.
And so, without further ado, the explanation to "The Rich Man and the Poor Man -- A Parable for Thanksgiving."
The Rich Man is God, while the Poor Man is you or me. God has given us everything we have. He created us. He gave us life (and life again). He gave us love. He gave us talents to do things. All we have springs from what He's given us.
What can we give God back to show our grattitude? What can we return to Him that he hasn't given us already? There is only one thing. Our thanks. Our thanks is the only gift we can give to God that he hasn't given us in the first place.
M. Stanley Bubien
December 2nd, 1996.