Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 42; 146, Nehemiah 12:27-31a, 42b-47, Revelation 11:1-19, Matthew 13:44-52
Imagine you’re in the city on a gray, windy day. The first hesitant drops of rain have started to fall and of course you don’t have an umbrella with you. There are nine blocks between you and home, but if you cut across that big, overgrown lot which has been empty for so long the “For Sale” sign has faded to a whisper of a suggestion, you can cut a few of those off. The downside is the tall buildings to the north and south of it creating a wind tunnel, so you pull up your collar and pull down your hat as you step into the tall grass.
When you’re about two thirds of the way across the wind parts the grass around what looks like – but surely could not be – a gold bar peeking out of the ground. It surely could not be, but you veer off course to see what it is. And it is indeed a gold bar. And while you’re crouched down to dig it out, you notice another one buried a little deeper. And another. You wander the field and realize it is literally littered with gold which can’t be seen from the street or the buildings – only by someone crouched in the dirt and tall weeds.
What to do?
If you’re like the man Jesus describes in today’s analogy about the Kingdom of Heaven, you kick dirt over all the gold you can see, empty your bank account, pawn your guitar collection, and sell some plasma until you can make a cash offer on the lot as is. No thank you, you tell the realtor, cleaning it up won’t be necessary.
That’s where the Kingdom of Heaven is. Hidden in a run-down lot in the declining part of town where no one expects to find it. Except it’s not gold, it’s an opportunity to be loved and to love. And while it can still be hard to find it’s not hidden in the dirt; it’s buried in the hearts of people who can’t believe they have treasure inside them. And it’s not your bank account you have to empty (though maybe you will), but yourself – of pride, anger, fear, hate, and selfishness. That’s the price of admission to the Kingdom.
When you find this treasure, what will you do with it?
Comfort: The Kingdom is available to everyone.
Challenge: When you find it, seize it – regardless of the cost.
Prayer: As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
Discussion: What’s the most precious thing you’ve sacrificed to attain?
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