Obtaining True Treasure


All the kingdom parables seems to build on the two we talked about today.  But what do they mean exactly?  What does it mean to sell all you have to possess the kingdom?  I’ve wrestled with this off and on my entire Christian life.  It can’t mean literally sell everything can it?  That doesn’t seem to be how the earliest Christians interpreted this.  They continued to own property for instance.
When I think of what it has cost me personally to live in the kingdom the cost doesn’t seem that high.  There’s been some financial sacrifices; but perhaps that was only because I was called to full time ministry where compensaiton has not always been on the same level as my contemporaries.  Our kingdom priorities caused Liz to forgo her career as a teacher and be a stay-at-home mom.  That was not really a sacrifice since she wanted to be a full time mommy much more than to have the extra income. 
We always tithed our income, but that has never kept us having anything we really needed in life.  In fact, I adopted the attitude I learned from my father.  When talking about these things he always brings up the intangibles such as profesional services or possessions we had received for little or no money.  He would also talk about how long our cars might go without needing repair or the good health our family had.  I can make a similar list when thinking about my own family though the years.  So, I don’t think I’ve missed out on anything by my practice of giving 10% of our income to church.
Looking deeper into my life I can see times where my pride needed to be crucified, along with other fleshly attitudes such as prejudice, judgementalism, arrogance, and the like.  It’s hard to see these as sacrifices since they were destructive. Knowing Jesus as savior really means he saved me from sins like these!  Taking these attitudes to the cross allowed the Holy Spirit to create new attitudes in me that enable me to live the kingdom lifestyle.  That could hardly be called a sacrifice, considering what I was given in return. 
I guess I could include certain acts of service I’ve done over the years.  They might include sacrifices of time and comfort.  But in reality, those were the times in life when I have felt most alive.  I guess the bottom line is that all “sacrifices” we make for the sake of the kingdom seem HUGE at the time yet so small and insignificant once the treasures of the kingdom come into our possession.  The butterfly never complains about missing her little feet and squishy body – she just floats though the air on her beautiful wings.
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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.

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2 Responses to “Obtaining True Treasure”

  1. avatar Steve Self says:

    Loved the sermon today! I have never seen the parables that way and it has given me new eyes to want to reread all of them.

    You are so right about the sacrifices. It seems sacrifices for the kingdom most always pay off so much more than the things we give away.

    Great sermon, thank you for it.

    Steve

  2. I think sometimes we try to trap Jesus just as the Pharisees and supporters of Herod did to trap Jesus into saying something against Roman domination. Except in our own case, domination through consumerism (see Mark 12:17).

    I love Jesus’ counter-rebuttal. “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesars…” And through the ages the “That which” has been largely debated. Yet Jesus asks for a denarius. I find it interesting that Jesus asks for this, for material riches are made from normally some metal element which rusts and decays. This should sound familiar for us. Did Jesus not teach, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal…” (Matt 6:19). And while with one of these objects subject to rust Jesus says, “Give unto Caesar…”

    But what about, “Give to God what belongs to God…” Does not everything belong to our most beloved Lord? Do you think God wants that which rusts, cold with decay? No, no, God desires something much fleshier then metal. God wants our heart.

    But this is the conundrum with those caught within a domination system. “No one can serve two masters…” (Matt 6:24). Jesus, of course, offers freedom from these chains. Freedom is offered for our hearts and minds and bodies, freedom from thieves and kings and freedom from “the worry about tomorrow.” Yet sometimes we persist to wonder and worry and question. “What does he mean?” “Should I sale all to gain the cross- to gain the kingdom?” Maybe we should ask a different kind of question, “Does rust open our eyes to the truth?” Or “Does our heart open our eyes?”

    I think for seekers of the cross we should pay close attention to the words of Paul. “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (Philippians 4:11-12).

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