|Provincetown Harbor, 2006. jfd+|
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, that when someone finds, that individual joyfully goes and sells everything to buy that field.
The kingdom of heaven is like a seller of pearls, that when a pearl of great value is found, everything is sold to acquire that pearl.
The kingdom of heaven is like a fishing net, where all are brought into the boat and than the good are put into baskets and the bad are tossed back into the sea.
The first two are examples of what Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like are similar, the last, not so much. When we see the kingdom of heaven, our whole world changes, Jesus says. To make that kingdom of heaven, we have to be "all in" - not partially, but all of us. There seems, in these allegories, these metaphors, to be an element of choice. The person finding treasure, the pearl seller finding the pearl of great value, had a choice whether to acquire the kingdom or not. But the acquisition is costly. Imagine selling everything...everything...how would that change us?
Like so much of what Jesus says, he is telling us that our priorities need to be set in a particular way - focused on things other than material possessions. The kingdom of heaven is a place where those material comforts are not of importance, for we see and feel and become something very different.
How do we become the "good" fish, the righteous who are saved? There is no one simple answer. Being able to try and live into this kingdom on which Jesus is focused, is one of the first steps. How we do that is up to each one of us, to find the path each of us creates. Will there be mis-steps and lost opportunities along the way? Absolutely. Are we charged with continuing our efforts. Yes. For once we see, feel, experience a taste of that kingdom, we really will not be able to help ourselves but want to be all in.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.