“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44 ESV
When I worked in a grocery store in days long before optical scanners and when no one imagined our store being open on Sundays, Saturday was the number one shopping day of the week. That meant that on Friday afternoons I was assigned to make sure that my aisles were stocked and ready for the morning mayhem when the housewives of West Plains Missouri could empty the shelves faster than I could restock! Then also meant that when the doors opened again on Monday, most of our shelves stood empty. We were sold out until I could drive to the warehouse for more merchandise.
That kind of “sold out” was an avalanche of circumstances that took a weekend to experience. The “sold out” that Jesus teaches us about is not something that happens in a single prayer at the altar or over a weekend retreat. That kind of sold out for the kingdom of God takes a lifetime. The only things of value that we have to give are our days and we must sell them one by one if we are to have the treasure hidden in a field. When we have no further claims in this world to hold and we sell our last day, then we will take full possession of Jesus Christ our only inheritance and our treasure. Then we will have the full field and we will be hidden with Him in The Kingdom of Heaven forever!
And live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
I have often wondered about the prayer Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. The awesome power that Jesus had to command wind and waves and to raise the dead was humbled in His plea to be delivered from the cross. He could have miraculously hidden himself again or struck down a thousand soldiers by a word and yet He struggled and sweat blood as He yielded Himself to His Father’s will and the shame and suffering that lay ahead.
He could have prayed; “I know I have to die so let’s just get this over.” In sullen acceptance, but instead He yielded His heart in love. How often I have prayed and given grudgingly but without surrender? I dodge the bullet of disobedience but miss the mark of true sacrifice.
But because Jesus gave His life in loving obedience, Peter was brought to full repentance, Nicodemus had opportunity to be courageous and a thief was brought to paradise. A rich man had the chance to learn how to give and just three days later Mary Magdalene got to be the first to see Him risen and alive. These all received because Jesus gave himself willingly. They became a part of the fragrance of the offering of Jesus. So what about this morning? Will we surrender whatever is in our hands today to God? Will we willingly let go of what is ours to gain something for others? Will we surrender and follow our Lord and offer a sacrifice with a sweet fragrance to God today?
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Matthew 13:16 KJV
Being a disciple means being a learner, and I learned from my mother that you can’t be afraid if you want to learn something new. As a science-fiction writer, she always was learning something new and doing a lot of research so that her books would be as accurate as possible. Her second published novel was about a planet whose people were blind and got around like bats using a radar like sense. This really impressed my eight-year-old imagination and got me wondering what it would be like to just listen like a bat to what was around me.
Then one day as I was playing in the woods behind our house, I found a real live bat hanging upside down and sleeping a few off the ground on a tree trunk. Excitedly I ran home, found an empty peanut butter jar, then scooped up the bat, slid the lid over the top of the jar and raced home. I couldn’t wait to show mom! When I ran into the house letting the screen door slam behind me, Mom put down what she was doing and came in just as I flipped the jar upside down and dumped the bat on her kitchen table, shouting, “Look mom! A real bat!” Most women back in those days would have either run away screaming or they would have picked up a broom to send the poor bat into eternity. But not my mom! Because she wanted to learn more, she was just as excited as I was to watch our sleepy friend as he stretched his feet and slowly started crawling across the table. That memory got me to wondering how ready any of us are for what God has in store. The only way to be ready is to be in His word every day. Then when a bat is dumped on our table , we’ll be excited to learn all about it instead of running away. That new thing God is bringing us is exactly what we need for the story He is writing in our life today.