Summary: How the hope of heaven changes us.
The Crystal Ball
This morning I want you to imagine with me. I am in the yard hoeing the garden, after a while my hoe hits a metal object. I get down and start digging around the object with my hands until I uncover a small metal box. I lift it out of the ground and examine it. After a careful examination I unlatch the small lock and open the box. Inside I see the most beautiful crystal ball, that seems to hold me in a trance, I just stare at the ball and start to see beautiful scenes inside of this most wonderful place. I start to wonder if I am losing my mind. Are these scenes real or my imagination, if they are real then my only thought is to find this wonderful place, but where?
I take it in the house and show it to Sue, and she agrees that there are certain ways to view this ball that you can see people and beautiful scenery for just a second, but she has never heard of such a place as this, it can’t be real. The more you look into this ball the more you want your world to be like the one you imagine you see inside. Oh if this place were only real. You start to notice you are changing the way you feel about a lot of different areas of your life. It is a strange yet wonderful feeling, it gives you hope, and just this wonderful warm feeling in your heart.
Everyone that comes over gets to see the ball and you ask them if they have ever heard of such a place as this, you all wonder if this place really exist or is this the creation of someone with a beautiful imagination. How could anyone who lives on this earth create something that is so definitely not of this earth. Finally someone tells you that they have heard of others who have found these who had heard of a far off place that fits the description of this one. They say that these treasures are buried everywhere and anyone can find them, if they just take the trouble to look. But know one has ever come back who started toward the place in the ball so no one knows if they did get there, so no one knows for sure if it really exists.
The story is that a long time ago a man came to town, who claimed to be from this place, and he invited everyone to follow Him, and he would lead them to it. He told such stories of this place and gave such heart-rending descriptions of it. That it made the peoples hearts ache to see such a glorious place. They wanted to follow him, but they wanted him to prove the place existed before they would be willing to take such an incredible journey giving up everything. Many didn’t believe his stories and the stories made them hate this man and they plotted his death, and eventually did away with him. Now people keep finding these treasures, and it brings the story back up again, for everyone to remember. Makes you wonder; don’t it?
So you just spend your leisure time looking into your crystal ball, wishing it were where you lived, and dreaming of what it would be like. One day someone knocks on your door. You open the door and he offers you a brochure. You take it and notice on the front is a picture of your crystal ball. You ask him if he has one. He says yes and tells you that the place you see in the ball is real and he knows how to go there. He tells me that I must first apply for residency to this place that he calls Heaven. Then he offers me a map to Heaven and doesn’t want a dime for any of this information. I ask him if he has been there, and he tells me that he is on his journey and is trying to find fellow travelers to make the journey a little easier. He tells me that only one man has ever come from Heaven, you can only go in, no one wants to come out.
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?