Scripture Reading — Matthew 13:44-46
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ . . . . Philippians 3:8 —
The people in these parables from Matthew 13 sold all they owned because they believed their newfound treasure had far greater value. At first glance, it would seem they had foolishly given up everything. But they didn't lose anything of real value compared to what they gained. In fact, instead of giving up everything and being left with nothing, they gained everything! These pictures about the kingdom of heaven are about finding new life, real life, in Christ.
Jonathan Edwards points out, "No change of religious nature will ever take place unless the affections are moved. Without this, no natural man will earnestly seek salvation . . . . No one is humbled and brought to the feet of God unless he has seen for himself his own unworthiness. No one will ever be induced to fly in refuge to Christ as long as his heart remains unaffected."
Conversion of the heart and mind to faith in Jesus takes place when our heart and lips echo these words: "Jesus, priceless treasure, source of purest pleasure, friend most sure and true . . . . Banish thoughts of sadness, for the Lord of gladness, Jesus, enters in." Conversion to Christ happens when inferior treasures and pleasures are replaced by the One that's superior and most satisfying. Whom or what is your greatest pleasure? Your precious treasure?
Lord, with Saint Augustine we pray, "You arouse us to take joy in praising you, for you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." Amen.