The kingdom of heaven is worth all that we have or ever will have. Today’s parables indicate the kingdom’s unparalleled worth. What is God’s kingdom? The kingdom of God is both a future event and a present reality. The kingdom of God is inau- gurated in the life of Jesus. However, God’s reign also remains a future event as we await the final consummation in which all things will be made new. Therefore, due to its present reality in the person of Jesus and its coming in the final days, we celebrate its worth, and we exhibit earnest hope.
Jesus’ teaching in the parable of the hidden treasure and the hidden pearl points out that the kingdom of God is worth every sacrifice whether we stumble upon it or set out to find the treasure intentionally. One man discovers the treasure, pulls together all he has, sells it, and buys the field from the owner. The merchant intentionally looking for pearls comes upon the greatest pearl ever. He immediately sells all of his other great finds to ensure his rightful ownership of the greatest find. Upon their discoveries, both men, with no hesitation, sell all for the treasure. Their discovery of the kingdom reshapes their priori- ties and focuses their thought. Treasure seeking is costly.
Like the one who randomly discovers the treasure hidden in the field and the merchant who deliberately searches, we are called to give all we have to participate in a costly discipleship. This devotion and commitment on our part carries eternal sig- nificance as the parable of the net reminds us: “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Discovery and discipleship are matters of life and death.
God, may I willingly give up all that I own for the treasure of your kingdom. Amen.
In the Genesis text, Jacob the trickster is tricked. Yet through a combination of patience and perseverance he ultimately wins Rachel, which sets the stage for all that follows in the story of Abraham’s family. Psalm 105 addresses a forgetful community that has lost touch with the God of the Exodus. Remembering becomes a powerful experience when it focuses on both God’s actions and God’s judgments. Romans 8 also serves as a reminder of God’s way, of God’s movements from knowledge to action, from saving grace to promised glory. The scribe of Matthew’s short parable brings out of the store- house both what is new and what is old. There is no true future without a remembrance of the past.
• Read Genesis 29:15-28. When have you experienced a setback due to poor treatment at the hands of someone you trusted? What did you learn?
• Read Psalm 105:1-11, 45b. How do you “seek God’s face”? How do you offer thanks to God?
• Read Romans 8:26-39. Consider Paul’s three questions and formulate a one- or two-sentence answer of your own.
• Read Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. How do the parables about what the kingdom of God is like surprise you? How do they shock you?
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