The Parable of 8

2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 4:6; 5:17

One day the number 8 came to grips with a tough reality, “I’m just not happy with who I am. I feel twisted and all eight up inside. In the core of my being, I just feel cross and bent out of shape. I’d much rather be a perfect 10, so I will change myself.”

Through a little research, 8 came across a basic two-step program for self-transformation. “This program is perfect!” he calculated, “Plus it will be a relatively simple addition to my life!” So he committed himself, and after a while he looked in the mirror. This is what he saw: 4 + 4

8 certainly looked sharper, but he still felt like he didn’t measure up. So he did more research. Finally 8 decided that his two-step program wasn’t serious enough, so he embraced a four-step plan. It would be twice as demanding, but he figured that he could divide his time carefully. After a pretty strenuous process, he looked in the mirror again: 2 + 2 + 2 + 2

8 still wasn’t happy. He just felt as though all his efforts had been four two little results. Deep inside, he knew he had sum issues that weren’t being resolved. So he became obsessed with changing himself. He visualized himself standing perfectly straight and tall. He became completely focused on his needs, and after much disciplined perseverance and some splitting headaches, he finally looked in the mirror: 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1

But alas! 8 wasn’t fulfilled. He had made himself number 1 in everything, yet he felt like he was going backwards. He started going crazy because even his best efforts never made a real difference. So after much self-reflection, he moved away from his precision approach: “I’ve been going about this all wrong,” he sighed, “I need to be more free.” So he just lived in the moment and did whatever felt right. For a while it seemed like he had found the happy change he wanted, but when he stopped to take account, this is what he saw: 1 + 7 – 6 + 4 – 3 + 2 – 5 + 8

8 began to break down because no matter what, he didn’t add up. He couldn’t add up. Despairing he cried, “8! All I’ll ever be is 8!” . . . But through his sobs, he heard a voice say, “Look at me.” Startled and through misty eyes, he looked into the mirror and saw a new figure who left him breathless and silent. It was a glorious reflection of everything he ever wanted to be. In a self-emptying moment, 8 understood how to be full. This new character had all the resources 8 would ever need. 8 could embrace his true design, and his life could add up to more than he ever imagined.

8 stood face to face with ∞. And stand is all he did–motionless, stunned, contemplating the endless perfection before him. And most incredibly, this perfect figure had been twisted just like 8 and bore a cross right in the center of his being. Yet he wasn’t cross. He was kind, and 8 was changed.

Then 8 realized that ∞ wasn’t the reflection; he was. His whole purpose for existing was to be an upright reflection of ∞. Now 8 understood that all he ever needed was a one step plan: to see. With this new vision, 8 would forever be himself and nothing more while forever being himself and so much more. He would be a cross-centered figure–united with perfection forever. He would no longer look in the mirror and see himself alone. His eyes saw something new . . . someone new: 8 + ∞

 

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