Kingdom Parable#4 -- Treasure and Pearls
|"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. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Matthew13:44-46)|
"It was a nerve-wracking moment. I had resigned from secular employment and offered myself as a candidate for the ordained ministry. The first requirement involved passing an oral examination before the annual Synod. Examining me was a bishop well known for his direct and stern approach. His first question seemed simple enough.
'Tell me, Mr Hudson,' asked the bishop, 'what was the central message of Jesus?'
'Forgiveness of sin, sir!' I shot back immediately.
'No', responded the bishop, matter of factly.
'Peace on earth, sir', I tried again, remembering a line from the chorus of the angels that startled the sleepy shepherds in the middle of the night.
'No', said the bishop again, as my face began to redden.
By this time I thought it would be best for me to give up trying and I said so. Leaning over his desk the bishop caught my eye in his solid gaze and said, 'I want you to never, never forget that the main message of Jesus was, 'The kingdom of God is at hand."
In Luke 4:43 Jesus says it plainly, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent."
And notice what we are told Jesus did after his resurrection -- "After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3,4)
It strikes me that if Jesus understood his mission to be about proclaiming the kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven, then surely, our mission as his disciples and citizens of God's kingdom is to do the same!
In fact, the good news about God's reign is so important and significant (life changing) that Jesus uses the above illustrations to drive his point home.
God's kingdom is found wherever God's reign of love and truth and compassion and justice is proclaimed -- in words and deeds.
As citizens of God's kingdom our purpose is to embody his values and goals (in community) and so proclaim his reign, to go out and share the love and grace and truth of Jesus with the world -- in other words, to establish, with him, his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
And when we 'get' this, i.e. that it is all about God's kingdom, God's reign, God's values, God's love, everything else fades into insignificance, or better stated, everything else is put into proper perspective. We first seek the kingdom of God, because the kingdom of God is the only true reality, through which all of life must be viewed and understood and lived.
Chris Judelsohn is minister at Midrand Presbyterian Church, married to Keryn with 3 children -- Rachael, Emma and Nathan. He also serves as Convener of the UPCSA's Mission and Discipleship committee.
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