NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR JULY 27, 2014
Once again this week, the lectionary gospel reading shares yet 2 more parables by Jesus in which he begins by saying, “the Kingdom of Heaven is like …” This time, in two of the shortest of Jesus’s parables, He says that the realm of God is like Hidden Treasure in a field and a merchant looking for fine pearls. In each parable He tells the lengths each person would go to acquire that which they sought.
Too frequently these two very short parables are often misinterpreted. We think of ourselves as the person that should be seeking the field with hidden treasure that we think of as salvation. Or we think of ourselves as the merchant looking for fine pearls, and the pearl of great price being Jesus Christ. I think the danger of such interpretation is that it makes many people think they have to work for their salvation, when in fact scripture is very clear, we do NOT! Such interpretation, however, often leads to disastrous situations in which people’s search for God includes leading them to try and experience things that do anything but help them find God. Moreover, when you are seeking God, who is a Spirit according to the Scriptures, how do you know when you’ve found the right Spirit? After all, there are a lot of other spirits out there also, chief among them, the Evil One. Those other spirits offer easy answers and perceived quick reliefs but, they don’t last. At best, they are temporary fixes that often leave us in worse shape than when we started.
I wish I had a dollar for every movie that had been made in which the main character was in search of something elusive only to discover, when they found it, it was NOT the fulfillment of what they anticipated it would be. I wish I had another dollar for every person I’ve met that wanted a significant other more than anything else. That’s all they could talk about. They were always on the hunt for that special someone and when the one they thought was their soul mate came along, they discovered that person was not at all that they had hoped for. I got an email from a woman this week, in response to last week’s Note from Pastor J R, for whom that was indeed the case.
I believe a proper interpretation of these two parables help us to know that it’s a good thing that we are NOT the person seeking the field with the hidden treasure; God is! We are not the merchant looking for fine pearls, God is! You and I are The Treasure! Jesus shared these parables to let us know of the greatest of God’s love for us and the lengths God is willing to go to ensure we come to know of His great unconditional love for us. These parables tell us that God, through the ages, has been pursuing the hidden treasure (us). When we come to know and accept God’s unconditional love for us, we become the pearl of great price to God. It doesn’t get any better than that! YOU ARE THE TREASURE!
Join us in worship this Sunday morning at Covenant. I will be preaching more about the fact that “YOU ARE THE TREASURE!” based on Matthew 13:44-46.