Summary: I sometimes wonder if I really know what it means to follow Christ. I find myself wanting to give my all for Jesus, but end up giving Him only a part. Too often my devotion is half-hearted instead of wholehearted like I want it to be. I’m double-minde
October 3, 2004
RECOGNIZING CHRIST’S WORTH
I sometimes wonder if I really know what it means to follow Christ. I find myself wanting to give my all for Jesus, but end up giving Him only a part. Too often my devotion is half-hearted instead of wholehearted like I want it to be. I’m double-minded when I want to be single-minded. I tell Jesus that I want to stay close to Him, but then find myself drifting away. I don’t know what your walk with God is like, but I suspect that at least some of you can identify with me.
Where does devotion to Jesus come from? What can move us into a deeper, more consistent, walk with God? What transforms an uncommitted person into a fully committed disciple? What turns half-hearted believers into whole hearted followers of Christ? We discover the answer to those questions in a couple of stories Jesus tells in Matthew 13:44-46. The stories aren’t long, but they are loaded with life-changing truth. We know these stories as The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price. Follow as I read Matthew 13:44-46. Jesus says, 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.
Jesus tells us two stories about two men absolutely committed to possessing something of great worth. One sells everything he has so he can possess a treasure he finds hidden in a field. The other cashes in all his belongings so he can own the most spectacular pearl he’s ever laid eyes on. Do you know what Jesus says? Jesus says, “That’s what the kingdom of heaven is like.” Jesus says, “Just like those two men were willing to give up everything they owned so they could possess that treasure and that pearl, your commitment to me must be greater than your commitment to anything else on earth.” Do you possess that kind of overwhelming hunger to possess Jesus? Where’s that kind of hunger come from? What makes people like you and me fully committed followers of Christ?
It starts with a discovery. In these parables it all begins when one man discovers a treasure hidden in a field and when another man discovers a pearl of great worth. The principle is so simple I hardly need to state it—commitment to Christ begins when we discover Him.
One thing these parables teach us is that different people discover the truth about Jesus in different ways. In the first parable we find a man who isn’t even looking for treasure. He just stumbles onto it. He’s walking along minding his own business and finds the treasure in a field by accident. It’s exactly opposite of what happens in the parable of the pearl. There we find a merchant who has spent his entire life searching for that perfect pearl that he ultimately finds.
Isn’t that the way it is with Christ? Some of you here today had no intention of ever following Christ. For a good part of your life you didn’t think about God. You didn’t care about God. You were just living life minding your own business. Then, wham! The truth about Jesus hit you up the side of the head. The good news about Jesus unexpectedly broke into your life and you were forever changed. You weren’t looking God. But God was looking for you.
On the other hand, some of us had a different experience. It seems that some people are just born with an acute spiritual longing. Like that merchant visiting one market after another in search of the perfect pearl, you searched for God. Maybe you went from one philosophy to another or from one religion to another. Then one day somebody told you about Jesus and you discovered that peace with God isn’t about religion. It’s about a relationship. It’s not about works. It’s about grace. It’s about personal faith in Christ. Your search was over. You finally found what you were looking for.
It’s like we said. Different people discover the truth about Jesus in different ways. Some are born into Christian families. Some hear the truth from Christian friends. Some come to know about Christ through hardship and trials. Some hear the truth on TV. It doesn’t matter. The point is, absolute commitment to Christ can’t happen unless you somehow discover Him. You can’t possess a treasure you never find.
But finding treasure is only the first step. It’s not enough to simply discover Jesus. Commitment requires us to recognize His great worth. In verse 46 Jesus tells us that when the merchant found his pearl, he recognized what many people never saw. He recognized that the pearl he was looking at was a pearl of great value. I wonder, how many people see Jesus and never recognize His worth?