Wednesday, September 12 – Hidden Treasure
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
By: Jim Hackett
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never uncovered a hidden treasure in my backyard, in the sand at the beach, or under the leaves in the forest. I have, however, been pleasantly surprised by suddenly “seeing” treasures that have been right in front of me all along, yet I was blind to them beforehand. This year has been a time of renewed spiritual awakening for me. I could list so many newly discovered treasures. I’ll focus on just one right now.
This one new treasure in particular is impacting me daily: It is my developing appreciation for God’s unbounded love for me. I have always heard, read, and been told that God loves me, but for my entire life it has been more of a concept than something I internalized. It’s hard for me to feel that I am worthy of God’s love, as I often feel unworthy and shameful.
Several weeks ago, I participated in the weekend program at FCC entitled “First Loved to Love.” Over that weekend, with loving direction from Mark Fee, I began to develop a clearer sense of God’s love. The most important realization is that God loves me not because of what I do or don’t do. He just loves me. I don’t earn His love; He just loves me. I can’t lose His love. He chose me to love and called me out of darkness and into His wonderful light. I am God’s special treasure! What? Me? Yes, really!
Through prayerful participation in a variety of exercises among a small group of awesome partners, I discovered a new understanding of and appreciation for God’s love for me.One of the exercises is a daily review of “God sightings,” where I could see that either someone loved me or I loved someone as God wants us to love. The daily review not only causes me to “see” God’s love through others, but to more fully appreciate—and therefore more fully experience—God’s love. And for me to have God’s love flow through me in my interactions with others. This daily review also points out times when I could have loved someone more–therefore raising my level of awareness of times I could choose to be more loving.
Here’s a recent example of my interactions with one person at a car dealership:
I brought my truck in for service for what I thought would be an hour’s worth of work. Well, upon inspection, a little more work needed to be done, so I decided to just get it over with. The estimated time for completion went from one hour to four hours. I was offered a shuttle bus ride home but declined because the driver already had 6 people ahead of me. I then requested a loaner car, only to find out that they were all assigned for the day. I resigned myself to the waiting room. Quiet and alone, I decided to pray a bit to relax. All of a sudden, I remembered the salesman from whom I bought the car 6 years ago (and and from whom my daughter bought a new car a couple years ago.) His first name came to me: Aimen. I remembered it because it’s so close to Amen! I remembered what a nice, genuine guy he was.
I decided to see if he was still there. I walked into the showroom to look and I practically crashed into him as he turned a corner into my path. I said “Hello, Aimen.” He said “Hello, Jim.” I was surprised that he knew my name instantly. I asked, “How did you remember my name so quickly?” He said “Jim, you were my first customer. I’ll never forget my first customer! And you referred your daughter to me!”
He then asked me what I was at the dealership for, and I explained my situation. He immediately reached into his pocket and told me to take his new personal car and just bring it back by the end of the day. I was elated. I thanked him and raced home. (I confess, I doubted that it was his personal car, so I looked at the registration and, sure enough, it was his car, not the dealership’s. Was my face red?)
On the way back to the dealership, I decided to top off the tank of gasoline. I returned the keys to him and thanked him profusely. He responded telling me that in his religion (Muslim) he is called to show kindness and care for everyone. Gulp! My eyes filled, and I told him how much his kindness and his testimony overwhelmed me.
That night, I got an email from him (he must have found my email address in customer records). It said “Jim, I just noticed that you filled my gas tank. You’re such a class act.” To which I replied “Aimen, as a Christian, I am called to love God and to love my neighbor.” He said, “I guess we have a lot in common, brother.” Amen, Aimen!
God is omnipresent. God loves me. Am I that pearl of great price referenced in the Scripture? As I reflect on the merchant who sold everything to acquire that pearl; I think about how Jesus gave up everything because of his love for me. I realize that in God’s eyes, I am the pearl of great price!
As are you.
Engaging with the Scripture
Today we are using an approach we learned from Mark Fee’s First Loved to Love seminar.
Take 1 Peter 2:9 and personalize it, putting your name in the spaces:
“You, ____________, are one of my chosen people . . . my special [treasured] possession that you may declare my praises because I have called you out of darkness into my wonderful light.”
Then read this personalized version out loud 3-4 times until you can really hear God speaking to you through these words: that youare his special treasured possession.
Then re-read Matthew 13:44-46 and see yourself as the pearl of great price or the buried treasure that Jesus gave up everything for.
Journal or talk to God about how you feel about being his “treasured possession” – how do you want to respond?
Songs that relate to today’s theme
Listen to Mark Fee expressing God’s love to you, by personalizing the scripture: