Have you ever heard someone complain about the music in church? Have you ever heard someone say they didn’t want to go to a particular church because there was no air conditioning? I know some people who did not attend church because they did not like the music that was planned for that particular Sunday. I know people who skipped church during the hot summer months because the air conditioner was not working. Some people only attend church when it suits them, when it is comfortable, when it fits into the schedule.
Today’s passage talks about God’s kingdom being like a treasure hidden in a field, an awesome treasure that is found. The Message states that “the finder is ecstatic.” Ecstatic. What joy!?! How awesome!?! What a treasure!?!
How awesome it is to have a thirst for God, to want so badly to grow closer to Him. I know people who are so desperate to know Jesus, they risk their lives and travel miles barefoot to get to a church. They have to worry that people will attack them. Some people have their Bibles taken. But they want so badly to know Jesus. There are people who want God no matter what, and then there are people who want God, but do not really want to undergo what it might take to get to know Him. Remember this great treasure. What a beautiful, amazing treasure we each can find.
““God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.” – Matthew 13:44 [MSG]
Today’s passage can teach us so much. Jesus knew that this man was clinging too tightly to his money. He tried to show the man that He could offer him something greater than temporal riches, true riches in heaven. The rich man found this difficult to hear and he could not do as Jesus commanded.
Notice what happens next. You do not read about Jesus changing what was demanded of this fellow. He didn’t say, “Yeah, I know that money means a lot to you so you go ahead and keep half. You don’t have to give everything away. Just give half.” Jesus did not do that. There were no negotiations. He did not change or adapt to give someone a more appealing offer to accept. That is never the case.
So then the question is why do we try to glamorize Jesus and change His Word so that people will make the choice to accept Him? Why do we try to lure people to be Christians with half truths and PowerPoint Presentations that entertain while misrepresenting? At the end of the day, what they are accepting is not Jesus. They are accepting the comfortable; cake-on-a-plate Christianity you show them, that will be so cherry picked the truth cannot be recognized. Jesus does not need you to make Him appealing. There should be no negotiations. Just show them Jesus.
“One day one of the local officials asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?’ Jesus said, ‘Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.’ He said, ‘I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.’ When Jesus heard that, he said, ‘Then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go. Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, ‘Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.’”
-Luke 18:18-25 [MSG]