January 29, 2024

Good Monday Morning, Church Family and Friends,

It was a hot, arid day, the sun was beating down, but still the crowd was huge.  As they gathered and pressed around Jesus, he climbed up on a large rock and began to speak.  He proceeded to tell them a story.  “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which someone stumbled upon, and then hid.  And in his joy, he went out and sold all that he had and bought that field.  And the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls.  On finding one pearl of great value, he sold all that he had and bought that pearl of great price.”

I love a good story, and I enjoy being around people who can tell a good story.  Growing up as I did in Salisbury, North Carolina, back in the 1960s, most of the adults I knew seemed a pretty contented lot, leading fairly uneventful lives, quite happy with the way they were living.  I wondered if they, by chance, happened upon a mysterious map, would they have left everything to venture forth in search of buried treasure? I don’t know.  But I do know this:  any child would be thrilled to go on a hunt for buried treasure!

Maybe that’s why the parable that Jesus tells in Matthew 13 has always fascinated me.  Finding a treasure is one of the most soul-captivating moments of human experience.  Do you remember the movie The Shawshank Redemption?  At the end of the movie, Morgan Freeman thumbs a ride up to Buxton, Maine.  Along this rock wall, at the base of a large oak tree, he finds a polished black rock that has no business being in a field in New England.  Under that rock, he finds a treasure that reminds him of some long-ago advice he had almost forgotten:  “Get busy living or get busy dying.”  Treasure takes a lot of different forms sometimes.

Jesus is walking along a road one day.  He is talking to people about the cost of discipleship.  He tells them, “If you follow me, your own family could reject you.  Everyone could turn against you.  If you’re going to follow me, there will likely be a cross in your future.”  And guess what happened?  There were a few who dropped what they were doing, left their families, let the fishing business go down the drain, left the money in the drawer at the tax collector’s table, and followed him.  And Jesus said, “That’s what the kingdom of God does to people who stumble upon it.”

Imagine that you’re sitting in church one Sunday, listening to the minister preach, and a stranger sitting beside you leans over during the service and says, “Hey, after this is over, come on and go with me!”  You say, “Where are you going?”  And this stranger says, “I’m going to a place where there is treasure hidden in a field, and you can find it.”  You say, “Really?”  The stranger says, “Yes!  And I’m going to a place where there are pearls worth all the other jewels in the world!  I’m going to a place where they give parties for prodigals.  I can take you to a place where peasants and beggars are invited to sit down at the king’s table!”  And you say, “Oh, there’s no such place!”

After church, you notice this stranger talking to others out in the rotunda around the refreshment table, and while you’re going to your car, you notice this stranger leaving, and there’s a small group of folks from the church with him; you count about twelve.

What would you do?  What would you do?

In the name of the One who comes among us,

Bruce Jones,

Pastor Imagine Church

Church Admin
Church Admin