Summary: God is committed to us and we are called to be committed to Him. The mutual search reflects the value seen in the one being pursued.
A compelling commitment: 3 stories, 3 views
I once borrowed a tan, leather sports coat from my brother. He was not using it, and I was headed back to college, so he lent it to me for the semester.
I liked it so much that I brought it back next semester, but I didn’t tell him. I hung it in the back of his closet, behind everything else where he would not see it.
The following semester he asked me about it:
You still have that jacket?
No, I brought it back last break. It is in your closet.
No it isn’t.
Sure it is, right here.
You mean you haven’t been wearing it?
Well, since you aren’t using it, can I have it?
He gave me the jacket and I wore it till I "outgrew" it. I had found something I liked and wanted and, though it was not mine to claim, I arranged things so that the person who did own it would give it to me.
I followed a similar plan at other times. I find a book in bookstore that I want. I don’t have the money to get it that day, so I purposely misfile it so I know where it is and can come back for it later. I don’t want someone else to walk away with my treasure before I can close the deal.
Jesus tells a similar story.
“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.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:44-50 (NIV)
The kingdom is like a treasure
The point here is not the hiding or the maneuvering, it is the valuing and pursuing. It is the aggressive embracing of a thing so treasured, so dear it takes priority over everything.
The man in this story
• worked to hide the treasure
• sold everything he owned
• bought the treasure and all access to it
The kingdom is like the treasure. It is that valuable thing that is worth pursuing and acquiring. It is that thing that is worth more than anything we can imagine.
Think of God and what He did to have this kingdom.
• He created humanity and they pulled away from Him.
• Ever since, He has been exerting Himself to find His people. He has been listening for those who would declare Him their God.
• Among all the nations, He established one that would bear the blessing to the rest
• He chose the fourth tribe in that nation
• He chose not the first King, but the second
• He chose as that king, the youngest son
• He chose a line that was not among those
dedicated to Him by bloodline, but a lineage that was filled with sinners, foreigners and nobodies
• He chose a poor displaced family
• He chose an unwed mother
And in this source, He hid all He had, His only Son, His own identity. Through a route of rejection, abuse and execution, He spilled the blood that was the seed for the kingdom. Jesus’ death became the source of life for all who would follow God and call Him King.
Among the nations and the families of the world, through the founder of the Church, His Son, He hid His people, the followers of God, the believers in Christ and He called them His kingdom.
When God called out "Adam, where are you?" in the garden, He has been waiting ever since to hear an answer. Everyone who answers, "Here am I" in one way or another, is part of His kingdom.
• God sacrificed the power He could have exerted to force what He wanted
• God sacrificed the prerogative to influence people who were inclined away from Him
• God sacrificed His infinite objectivity for intimate involvement
• God sacrificed the life of His own son
• God sacrificed everything. The great God who is all powerful suffered