Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13: 8). The way He related to Peter, John, and Mary Magdalene is the way He relates to us. The recovery of passion starts with reappraising the value of the treasure, continues with letting the Great Rabbi hold us against His heart, and comes to fruition in a personal transformation of which we will not even be aware. The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.” (Matthew 13: 44) This parable focuses on joyous discovery of the Kingdom. Biblical scholar Joachim Jeremias commented, “When that great joy surpassing all measure seizes a man, it carries him away, penetrates his inmost being, subjugates his mind. All else seems valueless compared to that surpassing worth. No price is too great to pay. The unreserved surrender of what is most valuable becomes a matter of course. The decisive thing in the parable is not what the man gives up, but his reason for doing so—the overwhelming experience of his discovery. Thus it is with the Kingdom of God. The effect of the joyful news is overpowering: it fills the heart with gladness; it changes the whole direction of one’s life and produces the most wholehearted self-sacrifice.” It’s one thing to discover the treasure and quite another to claim it as one’s own through ruthless determination and tenacious effort. Brennan Manning, Chapter Seven
Let me be honest.
As a pastor serving in the Americanized church for much of my thirty years in ministry, I must honestly say that rarely have I experienced people in the churches I’ve served passionately consumed by the overwhelming Treasure of the Kingdom of God.
Keep in mind that I don’t say this to criticize others or to point out the failings of any parishioners in my church, but to simply draw an evaluation on where we are all at when it comes to being fully apprehended by the Kingdom Jesus speaks of in His amazing parable on the treasure in the field.
As I see it, the all-surpassing value of the Kingdom should, as Joachim Jeremias states it here, ‘seize a man’, carrying him away, penetrating his inmost being, and subjugating his mind. The Kingdom, (i.e. the rule and reign of God), when beheld in its full glory, should ravage a heart, rip to shreds any hunger for earthly pleasure, destroy our self-gratifying, self-centered agendas, and replace them with more faith, hope and love than one could ever imagine or hope for.
So where’s the problem?
Has the Kingdom lost its luster? Has the treasure in the field Jesus talked about gone stale? Has God’s gift of grace, that once turned 1st century self-centered fishermen and tax collectors into passionate lovers of God, run its course?
Or, is the problem on our end?
Could it be that the Treasure of the Kingdom hasn’t changed, but we have?
Could it be that we’re so busy doing church in our sanctuaries that we’ve forgotten to stop and behold the Treasure in our field?
Or maybe it’s because we’ve become so familiar with the Treasure we have in Christ, we’ve gotten sloppy in our unadultered adoration of the Lamb?
Maybe we’ve grown too ashamed of going gaga over the beauty of the Beloved in our midst?
Brennan Manning states here that beholding the Treasure will take ruthless determination and tenacious effort.
Anybody up for a little more Kingdom intentionality? Who knows? Maybe if you and I would become less concerned with church growth or playing church politics, and a bit more tenacious about the Treasure and a tad more ruthless with our pursuit of Christ, who knows what Tiger we might catch by the tail?
My prayer: Father, forgive me for my slowness of mind, laziness in life, and hardness of heart that has allowed me to be so cold and indifferent toward the amazing Treasure of the Kingdom hidden in my field. Awaken me again, Spirit, to the glorious Treasure readily available to me through the rule and reign of Christ in my life. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what would ‘reappraising the Treasure of the Kingdom’ look like for me? How have I overlooked the great worth of the indwelling presence of God in my day-to-day life? What has caused me to lose my ‘ruthless determination and tenacious effort’ when it comes to seeking first the Kingdom of God?
So what is God speaking to you today as you live as Abba’s child in the midst of His Gospel of Grace?
Over an eleven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at God’s Gospel of Grace; Exploring the Good News of God’s Unconditional Love & Acceptance. We are using Brennan Manning’s classic book, Abba’s Child – The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging as our guide. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Gospel of Grace home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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