Summary: Christianity is not a religion but far more like a marraige. It demands you ALL
Story: I remember hearing a discussion on Radio Humberside about 10 years ago about the Toronto blessing.
The Toronto Blessing was a powerful move of God in a Vineyard Church at the end of the runway at Toronto International Airport.
People were crying and laughing in the services as God touched them.
Others were overwhelmed to the very core of their being and were being transformed.
Maddy went to the church and was healed of a deep rooted nut allergy.
In this Radio programme, I remember one of the opponents to the Toronto blessing saying:
“It is all too emotional. That is OK for the Americans but we English aren’t emotional.”
There was a pause
And then someone said: “Have you ever been to a football match”
The late Bill Shankly who was manager of Liverpool football club once said this about football
“Football is not a matter of life and death – it is more important than that.”
People get emotional at a football match
Grown men cry when their team loses.
When you see a young couple in love – they can become emotional about the love between them.
I saw a programme on TV the other day when Gordon Brown spoke movingly about the death of his daughter, who was a premature baby after 10 days of life.
I was moved emotionally.
The Brits are emotional too!!
If Christianity is merely a religion – that is simply rules and regulations - then it may well satisfy us intellectually but it will not satisfy us emotionally.
But if Christianity is more like a marriage -and the Bible uses that very metaphor to describe Jesus and his Church - THEN it will meet our deepest needs both emotionally and intellectually
If we look at the two parables we can feel the excitement in the parable that was read to us today.
A man finds a treasure in a field or a pearl of great worth.
He is excited.
So much so that he goes and sells everything to make his dream come true and own the treasure or the pearl.
And Jesus said; It’s that sort of complete commitment which is the only way you will find the Kingdom of heaven.
You need to want it MORE than anything else!”!
ASIDE: But you might pause and wonder at the ethics of the man who finds the treasure when he is ploughing a field.
Because he goes any buries it again without telling anyone. Knowing how valuable it is he then goes and buys it with all he possessed.
Surely, you might say, this is ethically dubious.
Well that isn’t the rub of the story but as an aside it wasn’t according to Jewish law.
The rabbis taught that “If a man finds scattered money, it belongs to the finder”
(Michael Green’s The Message of Matthew p. 159-160).
The real rub of the story is this
Jesus is saying that it is worth sacrificing everything you have to get into the Kingdom of heaven.
Jim Eliot, a missionary who was killed in South America in the 1950’s said:
“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”
You can’t take your money with you – but you can take your relationship with Jesus with you!
What is your goal in life?
Is it to get to the top of your profession?
I’ve been there and got the tee shirt!
I really enjoyed it
But when God called me to follow him and move on – I was willing to do so.
Jesus leaves us with the challenge –
Do we seek God’s Kingdom above anything else in the world?
Is to have a relationship with God and to live a Godly life our consuming passion?
Story: As I said last week in the Anglican Church, when you spend time with God, his glory rubs off on you.
Moses spent so much time with God in Exodus 34 that his face started to shine, so much so that his fellow countrymen were scared of him and he had to wear a veil.
Do we shine – because we have spent so much time with God?
The challenge of the two parables in our Gospel reading today is this
“Are we willing to seek the Kingdom of God so passionately that we will give up everything to get it?
Let me leave you with some words from the famous American colonial missionary to the Indians David Brainerd who died at the age of twenty-nine.
His diary reveals a young man intensely committed to God.
Brainerd once said to Jonathan Edwards:
“I do not go to heaven to be advanced but to give honour to God. It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven, whether I have a high seat or a low seat there.