50 Limerick Parables

50 Biblical Parables Retold as Limericks
There’s a book full of tales once told
By a carpenter-rabbi of old.
The stories went viral,
Passed on down life’s spiral,
Now online they’re being retold.

He smiled at her witty reply,
Looked this woman straight in the eye.
‘Your joke about bread
Has won me over,’ he said,
‘Go home now, your daughter is fine.’
Matthew 15 vv 21-28
‘Even the dogs get to hoover up discarded crumbs…’

Body Parts
Some bits are visible, while some are unseen,
Some cool, others less, if you know what I mean.
Whether liver, legs or heart
We all play a part,
All valued, from the smile to the spleen.
1 Corinthians 12 vv 12-27
‘The parts that seem weakest may be the most necessary.’

The Mighty Mansion
A great builder from Nazareth
Built a mansion by means of his death,
With rooms for all,
As we heed his call,
‘It is finished,’ was his dying breath.

Then the builder sneaked out of the tomb,
To remind us about every room,
In the place that he planned
By the work of his hand,
A home without tears, pain or gloom.
John 14 vv 1-7
‘Come to me all who are thirsty… I am the way the truth and the life.’

Stones, Bones and Hearts
The wind can’t be held in a box,
Or pinned down or controlled by us lot.
It melts hearts of stone
And valleys of bone
And breathes new life where hope is all lost.
Ezekiel 37 v 1-6; Ezekiel 11 v 19
‘I will breathe into you and you will come back to life…’

Wither Without You
Branches need some kind of vine
To keep growing over time.
If they happen to slip,
Or lose their grip,
They’ll wither without a lifeline.
John 15 v 1-4
‘I love you, remain in my love.’

Missing Out
A king threw a do for his son,
Invited everyone to come.
But folks got mad,
Ripped up the invites they’d had,
And refused to come along.

The king was really confused,
‘They said no? Why’d they refuse?’
So he opened his door,
To the trampled and poor,
To those who had nothing to lose.
Matthew 22 vv 1-9
‘You can invite someone to smile, but you can’t make them laugh.’

The Growing Seed
The farmer takes his tractor out,
And scatters the crop about.
While he eats and sleeps,
The good seed keeps
Growing and starting to sprout.

Like the farmer we do our bit,
Sowing good seeds around this planet.
Then we leave it to the one
Who understands how things are done,
To the Creator who first began it.
Mark 4 v 25
‘Never grow weary of doing good…’

Fire! Fire!
Making a put down, or a sarcastic quip,
Can be like a rudder, that steers a great ship.
The tongue’s like a spark
Causing a blaze in the dark,
It’s not easy to hold or control it.
James 3 vv 2-6
‘Best to taste your words before you spit them out.’

We Are Family
At home there were lots of others,
At least 2 sisters and 5 brothers,
But what Jesus saw
Was billions more,
A global bunch of significant others.
Mark 3 vv 31-34
‘I no longer call you servants but friends.’
‘…it’s not what I have in my life, but who, that counts.’

Seeing The Wood For The Specks…
I wonder how many of us bother
To point at the speck in the eye of another,
When we can’t see the tree,
That makes it hard for us to see,
Sticking out of the eye of the beholder.
Matthew 7 vv 1-5
‘Should have gone to speck-savers…’

The Good Shepherd
Thieves come to break in and steal,
To lead the sheep from what is real.
But there’s a shepherd who’s king,
And he’ll give everything,
To rescue and help and heal.
John 10 vv 1-4
‘The Lord is my shepherd, close beside me…’

Missing the Point
It’s like hoovering crumbs off the floors,
And ignoring the dead, rotting horse.
Or flicking away an ant,
And ignoring the pant,
Of the tiger that has you in its jaws.
Matthew 23 v 24
‘Spending your life looking for the mistakes of others is like visiting The Great Wall and just counting the bricks.’

Reality Check
When folks made some ‘privileged’ claim,
About celebrity, status or fame.
Jesus wasn’t fussed,
He said, ‘See these rocks?
God could make privileged folk out of them.’
Matthew 3 v 9
‘Being born in a garage doesn’t make you a car.’

Peter goes out and falls asleep,
From the sky there falls a big sheet,
Offering camel pâté on rye,
And snake and kidney pie,
It’s all there on a plate for him to eat.

Peter feels a bit queasy,
Eating this lot is not very easy.
It’s beyond the norm,
And could kick up a storm,
It all feels strange and sleazy.
Acts 10 vv 9-16
‘Don’t say something is impure if God has declared it clean.’

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
It’s easy to hear good advice,
Smile and just say, ‘We’ll, that’s nice.’
Like seeing in your reflection,
That you need some correction,
But leaving and not thinking twice.
James 1 vv 23-25
‘I’m looking at the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to make a change…’

Yes But… No But…
The first son said, ‘Sure, I’ll go.’
The second yawned and mumbled a ‘No.’
But when the day was all done,
It was the second son,
Who’d done what was asked of them both.
Matthew 21 vv 28-31
‘Words may be bellowed yet carried away on the breeze, lasting actions can be silent.’

On Your Marks…
An athlete who runs the wrong way,
Or turns up on just the wrong day,
Will be out in the cold,
And won’t win the gold,
To win you have to play.
2 Timothy 2 v 5
‘I strain and sweat to keep going and win the prize…’

Open Offer
There’s a gate up ahead, not too wide,
Some adjustment required to get inside.
It’s open night and day,
Holds life in its way,
It’s a path that’s tested and tried.
Matthew 7 v 13
‘Come to me all you who are thirsty, weary and burdened…’

There’s a different way up ahead
That transcends all that can be said.
Not particularly wide,
Not a frivolous ride,
But worth every step you tread.
Matthew 7 v 14
‘I am the way the truth and the life…’

A bit of a Squeeze
Camels make an awful din,
If you persist in shoving them in
To a needle’s eye,
They kick, spit and cry.
It’s a battle you just cannot win.
Mark 10 v 25
‘Sometimes the things we class as riches, can make us poor.’

His barns creaked and groaned under heaven
So full of the crops he’d been given.
He sighed, scratched his head,
‘I need more room,’ he said
‘Better build another seven.’

He was one of the richest in town,
Yet forgot to pass it around.
He went to bed,
And woke up dead,
Those barns couldn’t help him now.
Luke 12 vv 16-20
When a rich man arrived in heaven with some gold bars they asked him, ‘Why’ve you brought pavement slabs?’

The Good Old Days
We often prefer the old days,
It’s easier than changing our ways,
But the Spirit moves on,
And beckons, ‘Come on!’
‘There’s a lot more to come,’ he says.
Luke 5 v 39
‘The wind blows where it will, and you can’t box it.’

Changing Ways
It’s no good buying a new set of wheels,
Then adding old tyres from ‘Dave’s Dodgy Deals’.
A new way needs a new start,
A change of the old heart,
Though ‘easy’ is not what it feels.

If someone takes an old wineskin,
And pours a lot of new wine in.
Oh dear, their shoes
Are now covered in booze,
For new wine you need a new skin.
Matthew 9 vv 15-17
‘Stone-shaped hearts, softening to flesh, deathly-dry bones resurrected by the Spirit’s breath.’

Linking Heaven and Earth
A ladder once rose from the ground,
With angels going up and down.
Now there’s a new plan
The ladder’s a man,
There’s a new way to heaven in town.
John 1 v 51
‘You will see angels going up and down on the son of man.’

There are footprints along life’s way
Veering off the path every day.
Of pompous guides, who
Had absolutely no clue
About which was, and which wasn’t the way.
Matthew 15 v 14
‘Like the blindfolded leading the blindfolded…’

Considering the Cost
A man started work one day,
Constructing a tower his way.
There was just one snag,
No cash in his bag,
So it remains half done to this day.
Luke 14 vv 28-30
‘You wouldn’t want to start down this road without preparing for the journey.’

The Sacrifice
A farmer lent workers some land,
Till things got out of hand.
He sent a man to plead,
But they made him bleed,
And so the struggles began.

After another servant got done,
The owner sent his only son.
With a twisted cry
They nailed him up high,
Had no idea what they’d done.
Mark 12 vv 1-11
‘He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
‘He became a human and walked a humble path, one that led to a cross.’

A farmer’s field of seeds,
Got ambushed by a gang of weeds.
They crept in after dark,
Ran amok, left their mark,
And the farmer wasn’t too pleased.

But he said, ‘Don’t go pulling them up,
Don’t go trampling across the good stuff.
For now let them grow,
Among the good seeds, you know.’
So life has the smooth and the rough.
Matthew 13 vv 24-30
‘In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.’

The Ongoing Story
There’s an old story once told,
About a man left for dead by the road.
A Samaritan came
And revived him again,
Took him out of the night and the cold.

But the years have now travelled on,
And that Samaritan’s days have all gone.
His shoes need filling,
By anyone willing
To do whatever they can/things he might have done.
Luke 10 vv 33-37
‘Get ready because God is preparing you for something very very…small.’
‘We can’t all do great things, but small things with great love…’

Benign CCTV
When goats and sheep look the same,
Telling the difference is really no game.
Most folks don’t cry and hue
Of the good things they do,
But there’s someone who sees all the same.

The things that we rate so much,
May confuse, confound and cloud us.
Those small things of care
Put us way up there,
The king values compassion and kindness.
Matthew 25 vv 31-40
‘I was thirsty and you were kind and gave me something to drink.’
‘Your father knows what you do in secret and will reward you.’

Two Sinners
Two people went praying one day,
The first was heard to say,
‘I don’t do what others do,
I only please you,
Unlike her over there today.’

You could barely hear the other say,
As she did her best to pray,
‘I wish I was good,
I don’t do what I should,
I’m not worthy to be here today.’
Luke 18 vv 9-14
‘The proud find themselves humbled, the humbled honoured.’

Keeping On Keeping On
A widow went on and on,
Like a defective car alarm.
She wouldn’t shut up
Till the judge listened up –
Scared she would do him some harm!
Luke 18 vv 1-8
‘Never give up, never, never, never give up.’ W. Churchill

Linking Heaven and Earth
A ladder once rose from the ground,
With angels going up and down.
Now there’s a new plan
The ladder’s a man,
There’s a new way to heaven in town.
John 1 v 51
‘You will see angels going up and down on the son of man.’

Think About It
A swaggering king picked a fight,
With his neighbours, to the left and right.
But they were powerful and cool,
And he was a fool,
And about to be smashed out of sight.
Luke 14 vv 31-32
‘A wise king would not enter the battle without consider the cost first.’

A beam hits a mirror, so bright,
It reflects and cuts through the night.
We may well be dusty,
Smeared, grimy and rusty,
But we can still mirror the Light.
Matthew 5 v 14
‘Then you will shine like stars…’ ‘Be my mirror, my sword, my shield.’

The Naïve Employer?
A man needed workers one morn,
So he hired labourers early at dawn.
He hired more at three,
Then still more after tea,
But on pay day some looked forlorn.

‘We worked all day – it’s not fair!’
Said the workers he’d first hired there.
‘We did more on that day,
Yet all got the same pay.
How can this be fair and square?’

The man gave them all a sad stare,
Said, ‘You agreed to my terms back there.
If you have what you need,
Why give in to greed?
Let me do what I do – why compare?’
Matthew 20 vv 1-16
‘The free unearned gift of God is life in his son.’

The Joy Bringer
There’s a new groom in town, throwing dinners,
Going to parties and eating with sinners.
If you think he’s a bore,
Look again, there’s much more,
He’s the one surrounded by grinners.
Matthew 9 v 14
‘Should the wedding guests look miserable while the bridegroom’s throwing a party?’

Light for the World
When life is as dark as the tomb,
When it offers nothing but doom,
There’s a light up ahead,
That’s what the man said,
Dispelling the dark and the gloom.
John 8 v 12
‘The lord is our light and protector, offering us grace and glory.’

We’re All in the Construction Business
Two people went looking for land,
Buying rock, and a swathe of soft sand.
They were building their lives,
One sinks, one survives,
According to the Son of Man.
Matthew 7 vv 24-29
‘You are my rock in times of trouble…’

Those Who Dare
Three folks were given some cash,
And took off at quite a dash.
The first two did a lot,
Doubled all that they’d got,
But the last just sat on his stash.

The master scratched his head,
‘Did you not hear what I said?
Take the gifts that I give,
And learn how to live,
Don’t hide them under the bed.’
Matthew 25 vv 14-30
‘Never fear to be true to yourself.’

The Searcher
A boy who was hungry for more,
Left home for a far distant shore.
He partied a while,
But soon lost his smile,
Wondered what he was looking for.

Limping home he looked quite a sight,
Stank like a pig in the night.
But his dad didn’t care,
He’d been waiting right there,
He ran and hugged his boy tight.

Now the village hated that son,
What he’d done upset everyone.
They declared him dead,
But the father said,
‘I believe in resurrection.’
Luke 15 11-32
‘My son was dead but he is alive again. Let’s celebrate.’

Salt of the Earth
When food is turning rough,
You reach for a shaker of stuff.
Salt saves the waste,
Improves life’s taste,
As long it hasn’t gone off!
Matthew 5 v 13
‘Salt is good for seasoning, providing it holds onto its flavour…’

The Neighbour’s Recurring Prayer
A man was just starting to snore,
When a midnight knock on the door
Made him sit up straight,
The neighbour at no 8
Was here after food once more.

It happened most Fridays when
That neighbour had visiting friends.
She said, ‘Please, please, Trevor,
I’ll love you forever!
If you help me out yet again.’
Luke 11 vv 5-10
‘Keep on asking, looking, knocking.’

A man in a financial mess,
Got let off the debt and the stress.
He grabbed his friend Sid,
Snapped, ‘You owe me five quid!’
And failed to pass on the kindness.
Matthew 18 vv 21-35
‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.’

The Risk-taking Farmer
A farmer went out sowing crops.
Threw it on paths, on soil and rocks.
Some withered away,
Some got eaten that day,
Some bore fruit – some a little – some lots!
Luke 8 vv 4-8
‘Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it remains a single seed, but…’

The Apple
A pearl collector gave up every last jot,
When he spied the best pearl of the lot.
In the same way, You and I –
Are the apple of God’s eye,
And, in Jesus, he gave all that he’d got.
Matthew 13 v 45
‘See how much the father has loved us, his love is so great…’

The Costly Prize
In a field a digging young man,
Found treasure and started to plan,
How to sell all his dross,
‘cause it would be no loss,
To have that treasure in his heart and hand.
Matthew 13 v 44
‘She is no fool who gives what she can’t keep to gain what she can’t lose.’

The Good Shepherd
A shepherd was hunting his sheep,
Just one had escaped from his keep.
He risked losing the lot,
To save one that had got
Caught up in a hole, dark and deep.
Luke 15 vv 1-7
‘I will find my sheep and rescue them…’

The God Who Searches
A woman searched high and low,
Spent all day on the go.
She was hunting for a penny,
She didn’t have many,
And when she found it she let everyone know!
Luke 15 vv 8-10
‘I will be found by you…’

The Foolish, Wise and Wily Servant
A dishonest servant got caught,
So had to think quickly and sought
His old Boss’s debtors,
Shrank their bills, made them better,
Some friends this certainly bought.

News travelled fast with this plan,
That the Boss was a generous man.
So the Boss was impressed,
And came off the best,
And praised his wise servant’s plan.
Luke 16 vv 1-9
‘Use your resources to benefit others, so your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.’

Open Invitation
A king threw a party of late,
Invited the good and the great.
But they ignored him for sure,
Their excuses were poor,
So they didn’t even get through the gate.

So everyone else came along,
The rejected, the rough and the wrong.
They were invited to find
The king who was kind,
And a place where they could belong.
Luke 14 vv 15-24
‘The king of all kindness who welcomes us in…’ S. Townend

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