11 Jun, 2023 A (painful) comical parable

‘MISTAKEN’ – A somewhat comical parable – about how amazing I am! (Or about some challenges to ‘unity’. It’s one of the two!)

In good ‘Jesus’ style – here’s a self-depreciating parable (which isn’t like Jesus), that raises some taboo questions – without explanation (which is exactly like Jesus – who never explained the parables to the crowds).

As one key church leader put it to me – “That cuts very close to the bone”.  This really is painful – make no mistake!

But if it offends…? Why is that?

  • Comedy exists in all cultures to ‘prod’ into the ‘taboo’
  • This can achieve important purposes sometimes – even though painful
  • I will write a separate blog/article on the matter – with a link at the bottom
    • (‘In private, Jesus then explained the parable to his disciples…’)

For now – please discover how amazing I am, and the difference some initiatives I’ve taken have around our home have made for my marriage, our family and our home!

TWO OPTIONS: View the 7 minute video or read the story below

‘MISTAKEN’ – the video

‘MISTAKEN’ – the story

Chapter 1 – Giving help

It was going to be a busy Sunday morning! Beyond our four boys needing to to fed and well dressed for Church, we had two young guests for the weekend. I realised that my wife, Heather, would need strength! As I lay in bed, listening to her navigating the normal disputes amongst the children, and the playfulness that naturally distracts, I knew she needed my support. So I decided it was time to to act! I sat back in my bed with the coffee she had made me, and prayed for her. This was a day on which she would need extra strength!


Chapter 2 – Extending the team

The pace of life for Heather was considerable. Every morning there were four boys to feed and have ready for school – with uniforms ironed, teeth done, hair combed and lunches packed. Beyond the school run that followed – to three separate schools, there was then the house and kitchen to be cleaned, clothes to be washed – and a dinner to cook at the other end of the day. But that wasn’t all. Our private little ‘kingdom’ includes a fantastic back yard within which there is a garden – with a lawn to be mowed, a dozen fruit trees, a long hedge to be regularly trimming, a large vege garden to attend to – plus dog and half a dozen chickens. There is a lot to do in our small part of the world! Most certainly Heather needed more help. In fact, the load was probably so great that you could she needed Divine help! So I decided to help!

As the spiritual head of our house I called our four boys together, and we committed to meet together once per week over supper, to enjoy a hot chocolate and biscuit, after which we would  pray for Heather and the work that needed doing on the property. What needed doing really was more than one person could achieve alone! As the man of the house it was only right that I took responsibility – and I can tell you that since I rallied our boys together to pray like this, it really has made a difference!

(In fact, sometimes it’s like you could cut the tension in our house with a knife. I think it’s spiritual opposition that’s come about since we united together to pray!)


Chapter 3 – Getting involved

After a number of discussion and prayer times together, the four boys and I decided we needed to do something more to help – this time with our hands. We worked out that the back fence hadn’t been painted in a long time, and two of the planks were rotten – needing replacing. Over the next couple of meetings we planned the repair – and our third son, Lucas, took the lead in this. One Saturday afternoon, after Heather had retrieved all four boys from their soccer games in four separate locations in the city, we got to work. We worked with real pace. We were a team, and I made sure I took photos so I could share the story later on. While Heather didn’t help directly, she was still persent. After cooking our lunches she had a chance to see everything we were doing while she was mowing the lawns.

The three coats of paint took us until evening. Tired from our work – and full from the amazing dinner Heather had cooked, we came inside to enjoy another of our suppers together. I thanked the boys sincerely (Heather wasn’t there at the time as she was doing the dishes). And the boys deserved this praise, because we had rallied together as a team, and we were really beginning to make a difference on our property! 


Chapter 4 – Building momentum

It’s often said that success breeds success, and that’s certainly been true for us. A month later we decided to try another effort together for or home.  Again on a Saturday, after Heather had everyone home from their various soccer games, the boys and I decided to prune the biggest 4 of our 12 fruit trees. None of us had pruned a tree before. And it was on this occasion that we discovered we had a star performer. Lucas went the extra mile, not only taking a turn with the pruning – noting we have only one set of loppers for the job – but also in putting the clippings into one pile next to the car – which made Heather’s job of putting them in the trailer and taking them to the dump much easier. I realised that, beyond the amazing things we were achieving together, we were also developing future leaders! One day these four boys will have wives of their own – and they were learning from my example! 


Chapter 5 – Celebrating your successes

It was after this second amazing effort that I realised the boys needed some encouragement. So, at one of our weekly meetings I proposed a special dinner to celebrate our successes. Lucas rose to the occasion again – to organise everything and everyone. Everyone participated – and together we gave a decent number of hours across a weeks prior to preparing of various decorations, treats and activities to enjoy together. In fact, we put more effort into this dinner than anything else we had done together on the property!

After eating, we invited Heather – who had cooked for us, to take a break from the dishes to join us because I had a small surprise that I knew she’d love. After dinner I’d prepared an award to thank the person who I felt was really making the biggest contribution to our family, by helping around our property. It was Lucas! The expression on Heather’s face was priceless. He really is our little hero!


Chapter 6 – The importance of telling your story

One of the things I was careful to do in all our united family efforts was to take plenty of photos  – and this is important because it’s not just about us! What we do can also serve to inspire others. Every year I write  a Christmas update which Heather then prints, packages and posts to about 150 of our family and friends. My thought this Christmas is to tell the story of what the boys and I have done together. So many families don’t manage to pull together like we have, and I can tell you from our experience, it makes a difference!  


Chapter 7 – Toward an end – the importance of perspective 

Sometimes the list of things that needs doing on a property can feel overwhelming. We need to remember that it’s not healthy a sense of responsibility for all these things on our properties that are beyond our ability. No matter how messy your property is, if we each take care of our own bedrooms – sometimes that’s all we can manage and that’s fine. You see, if we are gathering to pray together, I encourage you that God really can take care of the wider house and property! To speak from our experience, I don’t know how it happens – but all those other jobs around our house do somehow still get done!


Chapter 8 – Recognising the wider team

As a final word, as I’m sure you’ve picked up, my wife Heather does do a few things around our house. My thought for next year – which I think will really encourage her – is to invite her to join the weekly family suppers the boys and I have been having. While she didn’t really participate in our united efforts this past year – like the painting of the back fence, we recognise that she is still a part of our team, even if not at the core of it. In fact, I can hear her right now finished up with the dishes from our celebration dinner. I think I’ll go and tell her the good news!  






For other articles by Dave on the same topic of Church unity

2023 – “Mistaken” – An offensive comical parable? Why? (The parable explained)

2023 – “Mistaken” – A comical parable about unity

2023 – Four characteristics of leaders who take city-wide unity from talk to action

2023 – The quiet before the storm (Perspectives that shape how we lead)

2023 – STORY: How Gisborne churches united to serve their flood-affected region

2023 – STORY: NZ churches can shine when it counts (Napier flood report)

2023 – The independent nature of unity movements

2023 – To think differently in times of crisis – like during the floods (How to ‘let our light shine’)

2022 – One Church? FIVE factors that enable pastors’ groups to turn theory into practice

2022 A SWOT Analysis of the NZ Church in relation to its outreach

2022 Four national goals that can be easy ‘wins’ together

2022 – A vocabulary we can agree on (This one is a particularly important FOUNDATION if coherent national discussions on unity are to one day take place)

2022 – Principles for managing necessary agenda in pastors’ groups

2022 – Introducing ‘HeLP Project’ (for pastors’ groups) – the what and the why

2022 – Key pulpit themes in view of the global reset (Finding direction in changing times)

2020 – It’s time to take responsibility to educate our own children and youth again (On united direction and strategy – for city change)

2020 – Kingdom minded  – It’s more radical than many think

2020 – STORY – The Auckland delivery

2020 – STORY – Miracle delivery where pastors declined (raises an intriguing question about boundaries)

2020 – A need for new media platforms – not more voices (How do we address the increasingly left-leaning and also anti-faith bias of public media?)

2020 – A vision for national Church unity (What might REALISTICALLY be within our reach to achiEve – if we merely thought differently?)

2019 – ‘In One Spirit’ – The purpose of the book (Written at the time of the book launch and press release)

2019 ‘In One Spirit’ – full book FREE online

2019 – United we stand (A blog just prior to the release of the above book, ‘In One Spirit’)

2017 – Pastors’ groups – a home visitation idea (best suiting smaller towns)

2017 – The call to influence culture (It’s about the way we think)


DAVE MANN. Dave is a networker and creative communicator with a vision to see an understanding of the Christian faith continuing and also being valued in the public square in Aotearoa-New Zealand. He has innovated numerous conversational resources for churches, and has coordinated various national nationwide multimedia Easter efforts purposed to open up conversations between church and non-church people about the Christian faith and its significance to our nation’s history and values. Dave is the Producer of the ‘Chronicles of Paki’ illustrated NZ history series created for educational purposes, and the author of various other books and booklets including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last” and “The Elephant in the Room”. Married to Heather, they have four boys and reside in Tauranga, New Zealand.

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