July 20 Devotional
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are indeed the treasure hidden in a field. Help me to seek and search and dig and hunt until I finally find you today. And when I do, capture my heart and soul completely with your beauty and majesty in a way that totally reorders my priorities, as well as my life. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 13:44
Journal: Do you really believe that the Kingdom of God is like treasure? Like treasurehidden? What will you do to seek and search for that treasure today? What treasure does God have for you? How is he your treasure today?
Reflection: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure. What an incredible statement! Of all the pictures that come to mind when I hear about the kingdom of heaven, the picture of a priceless, matchless treasure is not typically one of them. Why is that? What do I really think the kingdom of heaven is like? And how does what I think the kingdom of heaven is really like shape my life and my belief?
I have a suspicion that if I really believed the kingdom of heaven was like treasure, I would live my life much differently. At least that’s what history would lead me to believe. Just take a look at those who found it: the guy in the field, Zacchaeus, James and John, and Peter and Andrew, Paul, just to name a few. It seems that something deeply significant happens within a person when they really discover the beauty and the majesty - the breathtaking quality - of this treasure.
What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase the kingdom of heaven? And what comes to your mind when you think of treasure? What do you treasure? What is your treasure? It seems like a pretty significant question. In fact, both Matthew and Luke go as far as to tell us (like we saw yesterday) that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. So I guess it is something we should spend some time considering.
I’ve been thinking a lot about treasure these days, particularly as it relates to the kingdom of heaven. Mostly because of this parable. And the more I think about it, the more it seems like once I am truly convinced that life with God (the kingdom of heaven) is like treasure - the most valuable, beautiful, captivating treasure I could ever hope to discover in my wildest dreams - it completely changes everything. My heart is totally and completely captured by its (His) beauty; and I will do anything, and give up anything and everything, to possess it. That’s the way it was for the man in the story at least. And that’s the way it could be for us too. At least that seems to be one of the main things Jesus is trying to communicate by telling the story in the first place; that the kingdom of heaven is like treasure.
But it’s not just like treasure, it’s like treasure hidden. Now there’s an interesting twist. Why in the world would God want this treasure to be hidden? But we all know from experience that it indeed is. We all know thousands of people personally who have never found it. In fact, they don’t even know (or care) that it’s buried and waiting to be found. The only answer I can come up with is that there must be something in the seeking. And not only in the seeking for the very first time, but in the seeking each and every day after that as well. That means that the why of the hiddenness may not be quite as important as the fact that it is, indeed, hidden. For if it is, indeed, hidden then that must be the very nature of this treasure - always hidden, waiting to be found. And if that is the very nature of this treasure, then I need to constantly be on the lookout for it. If there is buried treasure waiting to be found, I need to constantly be seeking, and searching, and digging to unearth it, each minute of each and every day. Whether it be in a conversation, or a situation, or a circumstance, or a hardship, or a wound, or even in Scripture - or in my time with Him each day - I must constantly be digging in search of the treasure hidden in the field. It is there, just waiting to be found. And when I begin to approach life in this way it will radically change everything. I will be completely sold out (like the man in the parable), giving up anything and everything, in order to take possession of this immeasurably valuable treasure, constantly making it my very own.
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
Pete and Ruth Mitchell are church planters in Marseille under the auspices of Mission to the World (MTW) and in collaboration with the Eglise Réformée Evangélique de France (French Reformed Evangelical Church). Pete’s role is that of team leader. The Mitchells have recently moved to Toulouse to plant a new church. Pete recently presented plans for the church plant in West Toulouse to the National Evangelism Committee of the French denomination UNEPREF. Pray today that plans to hire a French church planter in 14 months will be approved.
Safe Families for Children is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and child care professionals designed to support at-risk children and parents in need. Pray today for new host families in the Tri-Cities area. For more information, contact Janet Cockrum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Closing Prayer: Teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in my desire, and desire you in my seeking. Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you. - St. Anselm