MATTHEW 13:44-46: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (NLT)
OBSERVATION: Get ready for Black Friday! It seems that everyone has jumped on the “Black Friday” theme for trying to get the jump on holiday sales. Black Friday use to start at midnight on Thanksgiving Day. Slowly the time has crept upward and now this yearly sales period actually begins days before the Friday after Thanksgiving. Still, newspapers on Thanksgiving Day are 4 times as thick with ads. Email spam increases exponentially. People set up tents and camp out for the latest deals on mobile phones, televisions and computers. I learned that our local Walmart store even had police standing on every isle of the store to control the crowds on this day.
Imagine – all of this energy, all of this focus, to buy something that will grow old and useless in a matter of months or a few short years. The gleam, the wonder, the joy of these gifts will tarnish and wear off shortly after they are opened. Yet, the charge card balances will remain for months, or years to come. And as we begin a new year we will slowly forget about “Black Friday” – until some time next October when it starts all over again. And we will be ready! -ready to strike on the next big sale, the next big item, and do it all over again. It makes me tired just thinking about it!
Have you ever wondered what would happen if we took the same energy and commitment that is often shown in the securing the perfect Christmas gift, and directed it to seeking the Kingdom of God? This is what Jesus was conveying to His disciples, and to us, in the parables of the treasure and the pearl of great price. If we truly understood the value of the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness – we would give up everything to pursue it. Seeking first the Kingdom of God leads us to a treasure that never tarnishes or grows obsolete. It is a treasure that grows ever new – and lasts for an eternity. It sets us free from our covetousness, and gives us a heart of giving and compassion. It leads us into the full understanding and expression of God. It is truly the greatest gift we could ever receive, or ever give!
Now I am not advocating that we stop giving Christmas gifts. Giving gifts at Christmas, if kept in the proper balance, is a true expression of the love and spirit of God when He gave us His ultimate gift – Jesus Christ. In fact, when we truly receive His gift of love, we are moved to give to others. The issue comes when we make gifts the center of our celebration, and we neglect the person we are celebrating. It would be like going to someone’s birthday party and spending all the time clamoring over the gifts that have been bought for them, while neglecting the one whose birthday we had come to celebrate. Everything in life requires balance. Christmas is no exception. When we keep Jesus the focus of this season, we find this balance, and we discover the greatest gift of all, and the true joy of giving!
Lord, this Christmas season – keep my eyes upon the treasure of Your great gift! Let me seek the pearl of great price, Jesus Christ my Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let me see Jesus in everything I do, every decoration I hang, every present I give. And let the love of Christ flow through me to others so that they too can discover this great treasure!
In Jesus Name!