Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"It Was Good For Me"

The parables of the treasure and the pearl of great price. Matthew 13: 44-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Why did the man and the merchant do what they did? They did it because it was good for them and it was very smart. It was to their great advantage to reach a place of absolutely no need outside the possessing of the treasure or the pearl. With these choices they were done choosing. What a relief! Does the Kingdom of heaven approve of such thinking? According to Jesus it does and that took me by surprise. Here is how I might have ended these parables to make it fit my old idea of Christian self denial which always left me feeling I should do only things that would leave me with less. “And the man gave the treasure to the poor so his treasure would not distract him.” “And the man who bought the pearl sold it and gave the money to the poor so he would look humble.” Whey didn’t Jesus add my thoughts to His? Because He approves of human beings doing what is best for them. He always has. He approves of human beings who know how to choose their permanent, personal solution before they try to become someone else’s partial solution. Jesus approves of human beings living from permanent abundance. The treasure and the pearl are Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate value of the Kingdom. Jesus is the Kingdom made visible. Jesus is perfect abundance. Letting go of everything we have valued in our old pursuit of happiness in order to have Him is good for us and it is very smart. In the end such a singular pursuit of Jesus is the only thing that will make us most useful to those in need. In fact, choosing Jesus is the only thing that will make us truly useful forever. Beneath all the wonderful sounding reasons we give for our personal behavior is one inescapable fact. We all do what we think is best for us. We love ourselves too much not to do so. To lose our life in this world and find Jesus as our life is what is best for us and it is a very smart choice. Jesus is our only hope to live and love from abundance. The choosing of what is best for us is not the problem. The problem is we choose things that are not best for us and then we suffer a sense of lack, start looking again and everyone else suffers with us because we are still on the hunt for what is best. When we choose Jesus as what is best for us, God is pleased with us because He is the One who created us to choose Jesus who is the best. When we get choosing Jesus right, we will certainly bear the good fruit of such a smart choice. Once you have the best you can really get on with living the best. When you choose Jesus your need to keep on choosing ends. You have what is best for you forever and nothing is smarter than settling the abundance issue once and forever. To truly love the issue of permanent, personal abundance found in Christ must be settled once and for all. Make Jesus your final choice and you will choose to love. What a relief it is to love from the certainty of Jesus’ eternal perfection and abundance instead of constantly checking to see how much we have spent loving others. Bud McCord Abide International

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