There once was a man who, while on vacation, went for a walk on the beach. On this particular walk, as the sun sank low over the water, he happened to take his eyes off of the sunset for a moment and looked down as he tiptoed around sharp broken shells and washed up seaweed.
Something sparkled in the evening light, and he bent over to discover he'd stumbled upon a very valuable coin. It was very rare, the likes of which the world had not seen to that point.
As such, word quickly spread of his finding and he was interviewed by the local newspaper and TV stations, with a few national publications recounting his tale of good fortune. While not quite a celebrity, he became a bit more well known to strangers and his social circle increased.
Also, as a result of his discovery, more people began to wander that same beach, hoping they'd unearth an equally valuable and rare coin, something that would make them wealthy and well-known. While a few got lucky, many more grew frustrated and asked the man to tell them his secrets of how he found the coin and what practices they might employ to emulate his achievement.
These requests gave the man a new idea and since demand was so high, he began to offer workshops and educational meetings where he explained how to find valuable coins and what the top coin-finding experts were saying from around the world. He began to be well-known for his speaking skills and his interactive teachings that people who had never wandered the beach in search of coins to begin with started to attend his workshops. He soon wrote a book, which even more people read, most of whom wanted coins but hadn't started looking yet.
And so it continued that the more the man wrote and spoke, the more people listened, wanting to know how to quickly and easily find their own fortune. Suddenly, thousands and then millions of people became experts in learning how to find coins.
The beach is now as deserted as it was when the man first found his coin that evening. Instead, people are in seminars and at conferences learning how to find coins, and very few are really looking for themselves.
The meaning of the parable:
Substitute "social media" for the coin. Or "God." Or "love." There are lots of things we want, and we often spend time learning how to search, and very little time actually searching. Maybe it's time we change that.