Jesus gives us two examples of what the kingdom of heaven is like in Matthew 13. In one He says that it’s like a great treasure which is found by a man, and in the other he says it’s like a man who finds a great treasure. In one of these instances there’s a sense that the treasure was found by accident, while in the other it seems that the man had been searching for something he knew existed, but didn’t know exactly what, nor where it was. And that’s the way it goes. Some people are not looking for Jesus, but they stumble over Him and find great joy. Others search for a great thing and they discover Jesus. The result is the same.
Notice how each of the men respond to their finds. One of them has great joy over what he found, while the other values his new-found treasure. I, your father, relate with the one who finds the great value. I was searching for something, something that would make sense in this world which seemed to be descending into chaos around me. Jesus became the treasure of treasures in my sight. There was no turning back.
I think Jesus gave us these two examples–and he gave more–to help us, as brothers and sisters in Him, to understand each other better. And while I am not without joy in Him, it is the value of the treasure in Him that appeals to me above all. I find joy in knowing the truth.
But the truth can be harsh. Reality, in fact, is harsh. You are going to die. Death will overtake you, and even though that seems like it is a million years away right now, it is much closer than you think. This is reality, and all the diversions and fun you can muster up will only succeed in masking it. This is depressing for many, and we don’t really like to think about it. But I do, because it’s reality, and I want to live in reality.
When I was about seven I went to the front of the little Baptist Church and said the little prayer with the preacher. A little later I got baptised. I lived as a Christian for a few years after that, and had great joy. But as I got older everything changed; the world around me, my family, and even I myself changed. In time I began to fade away until I knew I was no Christian. I believed the lies of this world and I strove to have all this world had to offer. But when I got it, it didn’t deliver in happiness; only misery, hurt and pain.
I had become what I call a “flesh machine”. A flesh machine is someone who simply does everything their flesh tells them to do, to satisfy its immediate cravings. My entire life was centered on those cravings. It became the self-centered purpose for my existence. I could have said that, “I exist to please my fleshy desires, the lust of the flesh, the lust of my eyes and the pride of my life, and it would have been a true statement. But it’s a funny thing about your body as a “machine”, it only craves; it is never satisfied. It never has enough, and worse, it has no purpose to guide it as it is void of the Spirit. The scripture defines such a state as being “dead”.
But Jesus spoke of being born of “the Spirit”. He spoke of being born again. He spoke of picking up our cross and following him, which is a picture of killing the flesh and living according to the Spirit… which is life and peace.
Dear children, I gave myself over to the flesh for much of my young life, and in so doing wasted much of it living like a moron and being a fool. You have purpose dear children. You were created to bow before and worship your creator, and there is everlasting joy and rest in serving and submitting to your King and Master, Jesus, in His Kingdom. I have lived that truth out before you as best I can. And I pray that you would humble yourselves also before your creator, bow before Him and serve Him, and be wise, and not waste your life serving your flesh, which I can attest is a very cruel master.