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A $1200 Mistake

by David Snapper, SUMC Assoiciate Pastor on January 27, 2021

Probably most of us have tossed $1200 into the recycle bin. Happens all the time, a mistake anyone can make: This time was no different. I ripped open an ordinary piece of junk mail, looked at the phony letter and the bogus Cash Card inside, and dropped it into the recycle can. Can’t fool me! Inside, the letter is from the “MetaBank.” Who has ever heard of a MetaBank. It sounds like a phony bank that is trying to scam me. And the phony cash card didn’t fool me. It was way too shiny to be real. Into the recycle bin it went. I didn’t have time for this scam with a phony cash card. Of course, Nancy was watching all this and wanted to see the letter. So, I drug it out of the bin after much complaining. An hour later, after a long Google search, we realized this phony-looking letter was the real deal. The cash card had was loaded with $1200 of money that my grandchildren’s taxes are providing for me! Thanks Adam! Thanks, Zak! Thanks, Nancy! DQ, here we come!

 

The Men’s Bible Study recently read Jesus’ Parable of the Treasure in the Field (Matthew 13) and it reminded me of the Cash Card I threw into the recycle bin. In the Parable, a man (like me) walks by a dusty field (a common envelope) and he nearly passes by (throws it away) without a second thought (It’s junk mail! They can’t waste my time.)  But he sees something different (his wife sees something,) hidden (like the spot of color on the card hidden in the envelope.) He is curious and he digs it up (I pull it out of the bin.) Amazing! The box is filled with treasure! (The Cash Card really is worth $1200.) What does he do? He runs to town and buys the field.  He didn’t steal the money; he bought the field to get the box. (We validated the card and now we’re going to town to celebrate!)

 

Wait a minute. Hold on, is there a point to all of this? Of course, there is a point! It just takes a while to get to it because I am a preacher. Here we go.

 

Point One: Sometimes, we walk along focusing on the gravel in our sandals without seeing the treasure in the field. A hundred people walked that road before one man saw something colorful and bright – a treasure, almost hidden. Sometimes I am so busy worrying about the problems of a gritty life that I pass-by the real treasures. I suppose every life is a field. You walk along and see the cutting grit of life. Or, you look for the treasure that makes it all worthwhile.

 

Point Two: Someone put the treasure in the field. Jesus wants you to understand that God put a little treasure in your day today, too.  Sure, life has miles and miles of dirt road to walk, but then, there is a treasure that makes it worthwhile. Maybe God has put something truly special in your path. Are you looking for it? Or complaining about the gravel? Maybe today is the day you will see, for the first time, that God has had you walking this long road for a very specific treasured purpose. Maybe today is the day you will see it’s not all grit; something it is a diamond.

 

Point Three: The man bought the field with the treasure in it. (He didn’t steal the Treasure.) The field was nice. But The Treasure was AWESOME! Once he owned the Treasure, the filed was no big deal. Compared to The Treasure, the field was just a lot of dirt. Well, Jesus, of course, is The Treasure.  Life is the field.  Life is good, sometimes gritty, but good. Work, friends, family, children, grandchildren who will pay for the stimulus check, my beautiful Scion xB car – it’s all a good part of the road we walk. Clearly, the parable intends to tell us that Jesus in your life is the treasure: The Treasure that dwarfs everything else.

 

All the little things of the journey are nothing compared to Jesus (God the Father and the Holy Spirit) in your life. If I own a lot of stuff at the end of life, that’s OK, I suppose. You can be buried in your field. Nice.

But if I am buried in that field and one day I am raised to eternal life with Jesus – well, that really is a Eternal Treasure. Eternal Life with Jesus is The Treasure that makes everything else pale in comparison.

The cool thing in the parable is that the man who finds Jesus, the True Eternal Treasure, gets both the field (life) and the Eternal Treasure as well. The field is still gritty; life is still tough. At the end of the day, he has Jesus and Jesus has him.

Life has some harsh and gritty junk-mail miles to walk. A year of COVID. A lot of grief and sorrow this year. You could think it is all a waste of time.  Junk mail. Junk year. Junk health. Junk quarantine. Junk employment changes.  
Junk. Junk. Junk. Dirt. Dirt. Dirt.

But no, look, there is a bright spot.  It’s the treasure of eternity, the hope of the resurrection that makes every step a step closer to eternal riches. Jesus is The Treasure who makes every step holy, even when the gravel has cut through your skin.

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