Sunday, July 27, 2014

17th Sunday Ordinary Time - Matthew 13: 44-52 - "The Greatest Treasure"

Take a moment to think about what matters most to you in your life.  Many of us would say, it’s my family or my children or my spouse.  Some may say it’s my reputation that matters most to me, or my integrity or my standing in the community.  Others may consider that it’s their freedom and rights that matter most important or their ideology or dignity that matters most to them.  Still others may say it is God who matters most to them in their life.

Now ask yourself, “What would you sacrifice to protect and keep what matters most to you in life?  Is there anything that you would not give up or be prepared to lose or trade in exchange to keep what is most important to you?

In the Old Testament, what mattered most to Abraham in his life was God.  He was willing to unquestioningly follow God’s instruction to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s command.  God subject Abraham to a test to measure his commitment to God, his love of God.

Today, Jesus tells a parable about finding a great treasure and what lengths, what sacrifices others made - to secure these great treasures for themselves.  Both the land speculator and the merchant realize the great value of the treasures they found, a hidden treasure (we imagine of gold, silver and jewels) or a lustrous pearl glowing in perfection.  He tells us they both made a great sacrifice to possess their treasure.  They sell everything they own; giving up all they possess, risking all they have in their life, so they may possess a treasure far greater than anything they have ever had in their lives before.  Their sacrifice, their risk is their total commitment to possessing what they consider to be their greatest treasure of all.

As Christians, what is our greatest treasure?  Is it not the love of God?  Is not God’s gift of eternal life worth more than any buried treasure we could find or pearl of perfection we might discover?  Is not Jesus’ promise of a place in God’s heavenly kingdom worth more than all the earthly treasures combined?  And, has not God already made the ultimate sacrifice of his Son to purchase for us this greatest of all treasure?

We don’t have to go out digging in the fields or searching all the markets of the world to find this great treasure.  To possess the greatest of all treasure, we only have to turn to God, the Father with love.  

To possess this great treasure: to become inheritor’s of God’s kingdom in the eternal life of heaven, God does not ask us to sacrifice everything we own, nor does he ask us to give up all our possessions.  We inherit God’s holy kingdom, as his beloved children, by loving Him above all, doing His will; loving all our brothers and sisters as He loves us.  

God’s love for us gives us a share in the greatest of treasure – Eternal Life.  It is in loving Him and doing His will that we fulfill God’s greatest desire – for us to gain His great gift, to dwell with Him in heaven, forever.  

Through His grace we come into our place in His kingdom among the angels and saints.  There is nothing we can buy or bargain for – for our place in heaven.  It is God’s desire; His grace, freely given, that secures for us what is greater than any earthly treasure found hidden in a field or sold in a market.   

Living as God’s holy children, doing God’s will, loving God and loving one another as we are loved gives us the greatest treasure of all: Life Eternal in the everlasting peace of God’s heavenly kingdom.  Amen

Deacon Don

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