June 26, 2013

When Finding the Greatest Treasure Just isn’t Enough


The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

It’s a great verse, Matthew 13:44, isn’t it?  And the key word, of course, is “joy”.  The kingdom of heaven is a treasure worth having.  Worth selling all to have.  The kingdom is the source of joy.  When you find it you should, you MUST, play “finders’ keepers”, or at least sell all that you have in your joy and purchase the field in which the treasure is hidden in order to purchase it.

Which kinda makes this article leave a sour taste in my mouth.  A local Anglican priest here in Perth finds an extremely expensive bracelet, lost by a local couple in a car park a few months back.  He hands it in to the police and then, as if by magic – and the passing of the allotted time – the bracelet is his two months later as no one claimed it.

Except now they have. As the article states, gratitude turns to incredulity as the priest tells the couple who’d lost it that they can have it, if they stump up fifty per cent of its agreed value ($6500).  The telling lines from the good reverend are these:

I have been given a gift fallen from the sky. What do I do with my gift? That’s up to me to decide. I’m just offering to share the windfall.

Actually mate (not gonna name you as the article does that – Fuming Ed), I assume if you are a Christian you already have been given a gift from the sky. In fact it fell so far from up there it buried itself in a field, and you had the opportunity to find it, buy the field in your joy, dig it up and own it yourself. And now you own it all because someone was gracious enough to put it there, and enable you to discover it.

Do you know what this smacks of?  Elder brother syndrome.  You know the guy – the good guy who stayed at home and simply assumed that he had a quid pro quo relationship with his father in which everyone would get their just deserts?  And boy, isn’t he steaming when that lay-about brother of his comes home – probably having sold that family heirloom brooch for some two-bit hooker, and the father lavishes love and forgiveness and generosity on him.  Doesn’t he know that windfalls just don’t fall out of the sky?  Doesn’t he know that you have to earn your way back in? Undeserved kindness and generosity make a mockery of the whole system!

Sorry, reverend, but when the lectionary readings this year reach the bit about lost sheep, lost coins and lost sons, I reckon you should skip right over those parts, cos for you it seems that finding the greatest treasure just isn’t enough. Either that or go back to practice law from whence you came. After all Jesus told all his best stories in front of, and because of, the best lawyers of his day.


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There is no guarantee that Jesus will return in our desired timeframe. Yet we have no reason to be anxious, because even if the timeframe is not guaranteed, the outcome is! We don’t have to waste energy being anxious; we can put it to better use.

Stephen McAlpine – futureproof

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