Summary: The treasure of the Gospel of Christ is what enbles us to persevere.
“We Have This Treasure”
by: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview united Mehtodist Church, Newport News, VA
A story is told of an old estate auction where some of the finest china, linens, furniture, and other things of great value were being sold.
All the stuff sold quickly.
But at the end of the auction, the auctioneer picked up an old ugly looking violin, and the people started to laugh at such an out of place object in their midst.
The auctioneer opened the bid.
He asked: “What is the bid?”
Someone said, “I’ll give you two dollars.”
Someone else said, “I’ll give you ten dollars.”
Another said, “I’ll take it off your hands for fifty dollars.”
The auctioneer was getting ready to close the bid with the fifty-dollar offer when an elderly man got up, walked slowly to the front, and asked the auctioneer to let him see the violin.
He took a cloth from his pocket and started to rub the cloth on the instrument.
And as he rubbed, the violin started to shine.
He rubbed it more and more, and the magnificent grain of the wood shined through…it was becoming a beautiful instrument.
Then he started to pluck the strings and turn the pegs to tune it.
He placed the instrument in position and began to play a tune familiar to all—“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me….”
When he finished playing, the man gave the violin back to the auctioneer and slowly walked back to his seat.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
Finally, the auctioneer reopened the bidding: “What is the bid for this beautiful violin?”
Someone bid five thousand dollars, another bid twenty thousand.
The bids went up and up until finally the bidding closed.
That violin sold that day for fifty-thousand dollars.
Someone who had been half-asleep throughout the proceedings asked what made the difference.
Another person answered that it was the touch of the master’s hand.
When we have been touched by the Master’s hands, our lives take on new meaning as well.
In Matthew chapter 13 Jesus tells us: “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.”
That treasure is the Gospel or the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The salvation that comes through a personal relationship with God through Christ.
And this salvation gives our lives meaning, it causes us to shine as lights in the darkness, it turns sinners into saints, the down and out into the one’s who offer healing, the angry into to the lovely…
…yes, this treasure…when we sell all we have in order to make it our own…this treasure makes all the difference in the world…it’s value is beyond measure and we would have nothing to do with anything that would cause us to lose it.
It is the gift of God to a Fallen people.
It is hope in the midst of despair.
It is peace in the midst of terrible turbulence.
It is love in a world filled with violence and hate.
In our Epistle Lesson for this morning, Paul is writing to the Christian Church in Corinth which has been infiltrated by false teachers.
They have come to Corinth, presenting their long lists of impressive credentials.
They have been boastful and arrogant.
They like to sing their own praises and brag about what they have, how well educated they are, and who they know.
They are flashy dressers, and slick talkers who stress the Law rather than the Grace that comes from Christ.
And all this has sent the church in Corinth into confusion and turmoil.
In their arrogance and desire for power and influence they have filled the Corinthians with lies about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Apostle Paul himself.
Paul’s integrity has been questioned, his character assassinated, and the message that he brought to them about Christ’s love is in jeopardy.
So Paul writes to the Corinthians and he basically says: “I understand your misunderstanding. I did not come to you with eloquence of speech, and I didn’t try to deceive you in any way.
I didn’t try to make you think that my bodily presence was any indication of my spiritual strength.
I can understand how someone could influence your thinking towards me in a negative way, especially when they appear to have a new and different doctrine with more flair than I presented to you.
I don’t have a counter defense.
I’m not going to offer you anything new or anything different.
What I said to you about the Gospel still stands.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.