It Is Worth It?
Father God, make Yourself known to me in new ways, exciting ways, challenging ways.
Consider: "It doesn't matter how you have been born again; what matters is whether you are alive or not" (Eddie Gibbs).
The last of these parables is the dragnet (47). At heart-stop day, we will realize there were only two ways to turn: into the joy of the kingdom or deeper into the thickets of our own narcissism. The twin jewels of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price are enchanting word pictures of how it is that God brings us to himself and in his wake into true joy. Here, first, is the man who has lived a life of diminished expectations, back and forth plowing a field, each morning bringing the slim mediocrity of advancing days. He's not searching for treasure at all. But then, wonder strikes. He discovers buried treasure! "Sometimes--there's God so quickly!" (Blanche in "A Streetcar Named Desire"). Is this how Bartimaeus felt at the back end of his alley?
On the other hand, some of us have searched a lifetime. We see in the pearl merchant's meticulous hunt--season after season--something of ourselves. We took the courses, read the books, strip-mined the "spirituality" section of Barnes and Noble; then one day, in a thousand different ways, there came the Pearl, Jesus, the treasure we awoke each day hoping for.
Both parables carry this same explosive word: all--"...in his joy he went and sold all that he has" (44). Whichever parable fits us, it means the same thing: there must be no hesitation, no calculation, no half-offer. Everything we have is traded in for everything Christ is.
Do you sense the enchantment here? Don't miss it. To find hidden treasure is thrilling. The pearl is gorgeous. As we gaze upon it, we are no longer the same. "At the moment we see something beautiful, we undergo a radical decentering...we cease to stand at the center of our own world" (Elaine Scarry, "On Beauty"). We are not the central figure in our lives anymore. We've been transformed. Hallelujah!
Apply: What gives you solid joy? What are your lasting treasures?
Gracious Lord, the Gospel is a treasure, a beautiful pearl, hugely worthwhile. I desire, above all else, to fully embrace it, and then to faithfully serve You.