Dear Anaheim Church Family,
This and each Sabbath we have a socially-distanced 9:00 a.m. service on the courtyard: includes discussion on the ss lesson, song service with guitar, and a sermonette by Pr. Mark. Bring a chair, a mask, a water bottle & come to be blessed.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44
Have you ever been treasure hunting? You probably did some imaginary treasure-hunting as a kid, but likely never found anything more significant than bottle caps or pennies. Treasure-hunting still has its adherents, though: From sunken ship divers to geocachers to the great 10+ year hunt of the $1 million Forrest Fern treasure in the Rocky Mountains, discovered early last month, people love the adventure and potential riches of seeking treasure.
How wonderful that Jesus incorporates our love for adventure, for searching, and for riches into this short-but-powerful parable! We don’t know the circumstance of the man who found it – was he searching a long time? Was he desperate? Did he just stumble across it? But the truth is, we are the ones in the place of the man in this parable. Whatever our circumstance is when we find the precious truths of the Gospel!
Imagine being in that field, finding that treasure. Your heart leaps! If the land was for sale for $100,000, would you buy it? If the land was available for $800,000, would it be worth it? If the treasure is worth an innumerable sum, there is literally no amount that is not worth gathering in order to buy the field. If it takes bank loans, asking from friends & relatives, selling your house, whatever it is (!) it is all worth it in exchange for possessing that treasure.
Jesus equates the Kingdom of God with that treasure. What is its value? Infinite! What is worth sacrificing for it, Everything! You notice the man doesn’t go begrudgingly to go about acquiring the property, rather, he does so in great joy! Anticipation hastens every step. His face is taut with excitement! When it is in his possession, he beams with exuberant satisfaction.
This is the proper way of conceiving of God’s Kingdom. But we likely don’t too often feel this thrill of discovery, do we? That is because, like silver, our faith tarnishes unless we intentionally maintain it.
How do we do so? By inviting fresh experiences with the Lord. Peter discussed the “refreshing” that comes with repentance & forgiveness in Acts 3:19. The Prophet Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations extols that the compassions of the Lord are “new every morning” (3:23). A half-dozen times the Psalms reflect on raising new songs to God – representing fresh aspects of faith experience.
Above all, let’s pray for freshness & newness to define our religious experience. This needn’t be merely your grandparents’ faith: the Gospel truths combined with your personality, your life story, your ‘flavor’, give it a newness and a freshness unique to here and now!
Let’s ask God that our eyes would be opened, that we’d be able to see God’s Kingdom for what it truly is: treasure beyond our wildest dreams (1 Cor. 2:9). May it inspire us today. And may we recognize that, though its “price” is paid entirely by Jesus, it is worth dedicating our whole lives to.
May God bless you and your families the remainder of the week.
Pr. Mark Tatum