Yesterday, I posted a resolution for 2015: Value the most valuable. This flows directly from:
Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Today, I’d like to offer two more resolutions that come from this passage.
Resolve to rejoice in the most valuable
Notice that the man who found the treasure was motivated by an overwhelming sense of joy: “Then in his joy he goes…” That phrase is not some small, insignificant detail. No, we should not miss the fact that the treasure made this man very, very happy.
This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. It is a treasure that raises the joy level of those who find it to a fever-pitch intensity. To say it plain, a real Christian is a person who should be extremely joyful. The treasure of seeing and knowing the glory of God, and being reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ, is the most joy-inducing treasure there is.
Whatever a person values most is his treasure, and a person will identify his treasure as that which he believes will bring him the most joy. So when God and His kingdom are our treasure, we have settled on that which, in reality, brings the most joy.
So I want to resolve in 2015 to be more joyful in the great treasure I have found (actually, the treasure found me). To do this, I realize I must meditate often and deeply on that great treasure. I need to listen to songs that point me towards the treasure. I need to study the Word that exposes the treasure. I need to pray – a remarkable way to speak with the great treasure. All of these things will inevitably raise my level of true, deep soul-joy.
Resolve to sacrifice for the most valuable
In addition to rejoicing, both men in the two short parables were willing to sell everything they possessed in order to obtain their treasure. They were willing to loose everything, even very good things, in order to obtain the best thing.
In a sense, to their minds anyway, they were not sacrificing at all, since what they obtained was so much more precious to them than what they lost. This seems to be how Paul was thinking here:
Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
My hope for 2015 is to so see the value of Christ as my Savior, Lord, friend, and future, that everything else in my life would pale in comparison, in terms of importance. I want to metaphorically sell all that I have in order to obtain this great treasure.
I believe this last resolution has a tremendous practical value to it. When we are willing to loose everything in order to gain Christ, it seems the little problems of life that might normally shake us badly become much less concerning. We no longer find our value, meaning, or identity in the things of earth, or even our own earthly lives. We have let them go for the sake of finding Christ. So when those things are taken from us, or when they break, it doesn’t seem to bother us near as badly. Christ is our treasure, and he will never be taken away.
To summarize, Matthew 13:44-46 gives rise to three deep, soul-level resolutions for 2015: Resolve to value the most valuable, resolve to rejoice in the most valuable, and resolve to sacrifice for the most valuable.