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Summary: There is joy in discovering the extraordinary gift of grace in the most ordinary of places.

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Title: The “American Picker” Jesus

Text: Matthew 13:44-46

Thesis: There is joy in discovering the extraordinary gift of grace in the most ordinary of places.

Introduction

American Pickers is a reality television series that premiered on January 18, 2010 on the History Channel. The premier episode earned 3.1 million views making it the highest rated History Channel debut since Ice Road Truckers in 2007. It continues to be popular with views who are fascinated when someone discovers and puts back into circulation a unique relic that has been laying around in obscurity in someone’s barn or basement.

The program features pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. Mike Wolfe owns and operates Antique Archeology which is a specialty shop that sells antiques, vintage items and fold art in the little berg of Le Claire, Iowa. But Le Claire is only the base of his operations. American Pickers follows Mike and Fritz as they go off the beaten path to meet off-beat characters who have stuff stored away in basements, backrooms, back-alleys, barns and wherever. It is really quite a fascinating and educational reality series. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Pickers)

Sometimes they go with a specific thing in mind but you never know what they might unearth from under an old tarp or off the top shelf or from a long unopened box. In a recent program Mike Wolfe found the pick of a lifetime in the form of a 1937 Harley Davidson Knucklehead Motorcycle that he was able to pick up for a mere $21,000.

American Pickers are always on the hunt for the find of a lifetime.

This morning we will look at two stories about the discovery of two different treasurers… one is an unspecified treasure a man happened upon in a field and the other is a pearl of exquisite beauty and value that a pearl merchant found in his quest for pearls.

One man was not looking for a treasure and found it. The other man was looking and looking and looking for the most exquisite pearl on the planet… he was picking through collections of pearls day after day and week after week and month after month and year after year and then one day, he found it.

As these two stories suggest, I think we may think of Jesus as an advocate for “picking.”

I. People discover Christ in different ways.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field…” Matthew 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls…” Matthew 13:45

Let me begin by clarifying one thing. Some believe and teach that the man who found the treasure represents Jesus and the man who discovered the pearl is Jesus which would have the treasure in the field and the pearl represent us. In other words, Jesus is the one who discovers and seeks us out and we are the precious objects of his search.

Of course there is a way in which that makes some sense to us because “God so love the world that He sent His Son so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 And then there is the great price paid… “But God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

However the parables are about discovering the kingdom of heaven or discovering Christ…. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure…” In other words the kingdom is the treasure… Christ is the treasure and Christ is the pearl.

A. One person stumbles upon Christ and the kingdom of heaven.

In every period of time and every culture people have hidden valuables in the ground. Usually the money or valuables were buried to keep them from being taken by an invading army or if it was necessary to leave quickly and you needed to secure your stuff, you buried it. Remember the case of the servant who buried his talent and was castigated for not having invested it at least for interest.

Of course everyone who buries a treasure expects to return one day and dig it up

In 1992 volunteers from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, excavating in Caesarea dug up 99 gold coins that had been stashed in a makeshift safe beneath the floor of what was once a private dwelling. Caesarea is considered one of Israel’s richest archaeological sites in that diggers are still unearthing treasures after 21 years of digging. (Christian Reader, Vol. 32, no. 3)

I’m sure the guy who stashed his gold coins under the floor of his home in biblical times did not anticipate that someone else would find his cache of coins in 1992.

Just a couple of years ago I read of a find by an amateur treasure hunter in England who found, according to a team of archeologists, the most significant discovery of buried Anglo-Saxon treasure in English history. Using a metal detector he found buried in a friends farmland field 1,345 gold and silver objects dating back to the seventh century A.D. It is known as the Stafford Shire Hoard. (Brian Larson, Editor of PreachingToday.com; source: Raphael G. Satter, “Largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure found in UK,” Yahoo News – for more information see the website, http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/)

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