Sunday, July 08, 2012

Buying the Pearl

I have always been fascinated by the Gospel of Matthew the tax collector.  I have read it many times, but for days recently I couldn't get past Matt 13:44-46.  Here's how it reads in N.T.Wright's excellent "Matthew for Everyone" version.
’The kingdom of heaven’, Jesus continued, ‘is like treasure hidden in a field. Someone found it and hid it, and in great delight went off and sold everything he possessed, and bought that field. ’Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a trader who was looking for fine pearls, and who found one that was spectacularly valuable. He went off and sold everything he possessed, and bought it. 
Wright, N.T. (2011-05-31). Matthew for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-15 (New Testament for Everyone) (pp. 174-175). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.  
I like to read the Bible in different English versions, and even in Swedish.  What happens is that I see things I have never seen before when the text is expressed in different ways.  That's what happened here.

So -- What does it mean "sold everything he had and bought it"?  I mean, what does it really mean "sold everything he had"?

A friend once told me that a way to really get inside the Bible is to engage the imagination with the text.  Picture yourself in the story, the friend said.  Imagine the pieces of it.  Really think deeply about it. 

I did that. I could see myself having found an incredible pearl that I knew I could sell for a great profit.  I did not have enough cash on hand, but by selling our house, our car, and all of our possessions, I knew I could afford it.  Then when I turn around and sell it, the profit would allow us to replace it all with newer and better.

That is a great picture of a person who has found Jesus and committed to following Him.  Particularly those of us who have made this decision as adults have "sold" all of our old ways so that we could "buy" better in the Kingdom of Heaven.  That is part of my life story.

But as I meditated on this, I see another level for me as a man who has walked the Jesus Way for 27 years now.  There is still more in my Christian life...I know there is more!  And so I am back in the market yet again looking for more magnificent pearls.  And I have found one.  

What will I have to sell this time to buy the pearl?  What among my activities and my possessions will I "sell" so that with my profit I can "buy" an even deeper relationship with Jesus?

How about you?  What are you willing to "sell" in order to purchase the pearl of great price?

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