Summary: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field...The kingdom of heaven is like ... finding one pearl of great value, .... the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind"

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A certain man went to Church one Sunday. He frowned when the organist missed a note during the opening hymn. He gave a mean stare at two teenagers talking to each other when the congregation was at prayer.

During the Scripture Readings he kept looking impatiently at his watch. When the collection basket was passed he felt that the usher was watching to see how much he gave.

During the sermon, he felt mighty pleased with himself when he caught the preacher making a slip of the tongue.

He was tight-lipped during all of the hymn singing.

As he slipped out a side door during the closing hymn, he muttered to himself, "That was terrible. What a bunch of clods. Never again!"

A certain other man went to Church one Sunday He was edified by the organist’s moving rendition of "Amazing Grace."

He marveled at the sight of a father exchanging hugs with the little child draped over his shoulder.

He had but one thought when the collection basket was passed: "Some of what I give will be used to serve the needy. Am I giving enough?"

He listened attentively to the Scripture Readings which spoke of God’s incredible love for the human family.

He heard something in the sermon that helped him with a question that had bothered him for a long time.

He enthusiastically joined in the singing of the closing hymn of praise.

As he left the Church, he said to himself, "How good it is to be here and share in the experience of the Presence of God!"

Both men had gone to the same Church, on the same Sunday. Why was each one’s experience of the same place so different? Could it be that each had found exactly what he was looking for?

We who have gathered today in this Church, what are we looking for?

As members of the community of Christ, as followers of Jesus Christ, what should we be looking for?

What do you put first in your life? Do you set your hearts on His Kingdom first ... so that all other things will be given you as well" (Mt. 6:33).

A man buried his treasure in a field. Another man found it, and sold all that he had to buy it. I can also hear Jesus saying, “Don’t bury your treasure.” Because it will be found. And it will be given. You are called, and you can not help it. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.

God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.

Or, God’s kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.

Or, God’s kingdom is like a fishnet cast into the sea, catching all kinds of fish.

This is one of the many parables Jesus told during his ministry. IN fact, Matthew 13:34 tells us that “Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables.” NLT

Today’s parable speaks of the ancient tendency to hoard money.

Remember, the ancient near east was no stranger to wars, conquering armies and the human misery that was left in their wake. And in a day when there was no such thing as F.D.I.C. insured banking, one could not be too careful.

And if you and I had lived in the land of Israel that had been conquered by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans over its many years, in addition to the problem of unreliable banks, high taxation and common thieves, I bet we would give serious thought to burying our money or valuables until we absolutely needed them.

After all, it wasn’t too many years ago when the American banking system collapsed during the Great Depression and wiped out the assets of millions of people.

It was a crazy and chaotic time when disillusioned people committed suicide and ladies in mink coats stood in soup lines.

Yet this type of fear and anxiety is becoming a reality again in many ways in our own time with the lack of health care resources for some people, job layoffs, foreclosure of homes and the collapse of some mortgage companies.

The kingdom is not some abstract concept. As I understand it, Jesus defines the kingdom as the way into understanding what Jesus as the Christ is about.

It is shalom: deep peace, true wholeness. It happens when God’s will is done. We help to create the conditions for the Kingdom, when we do the will of God. Ministry is what we do to embody and celebrate the Reign of God.

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