Saturday, December 5, 2020

Matthew 13 - Part 4


Read Matthew 13

Most of the parables that are to give us a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven are set opposite judgment or the separation of the wicked from the righteous, but these two short parables give us insight into the value of entering the kingdom of heaven. 

It’s something that you just can’t pass up. 

Long ago and not too far away, I played a lot of baseball games.  High school games were great but Legion ball was fantastic.  You played on something of an all-star team comprised of players from many schools.  You played against teams of similar caliber.  Life was good.

 When you are 17 or 18 years of age and baseball is life, then life is good.  I could put one over the fence and did most games.  I was always looking for that fastball down the middle on the first pitch.  If it was something else, I usually let it go even if it was a strike.

If I had a strike or two on me, I was looking for a roundhouse or hanging curve.  I’m not talking about the sharp nasty curves that your best pitchers could through.  I’m talking about the pitch that you know when it is released is headed for your leading shoulder but you can tell that it is spinning and will come right over the plate about belt high.

You had to be ready for any pitch and often you would never get the perfect pitch.  You wouldn’t get what you were looking for and would just do the best you could with what the pitcher was serving that day.

But sometimes, you would get that fastball down the middle just as you liked it.  Sometimes you would see that roundhouse curve and knew exactly when and where it would break.

When those times came, you held nothing back.  You were always swinging hard but when you saw these pitches, it was as if they triggered a release switch in your very being and you just laid into them.  Every ounce of who you were went into that swing and when you connected, it was the ultimate rush.

If you never played baseball or maybe fastpitch softball, my analogy is surely lost.  I have been there before.  The first time that I went to teach in Africa, my baseball analogies were lost on all and I didn’t play soccer.

Perhaps better for some would be that perfect outfit marked half or half of half again off, plus it’s on the 10% off everything day. It’s just what you were looking for and the sale is today only.  Don’t set the bar too high for my fashion and shopping analogies.

I’m the guy who answers men’s petite please, when the salesperson asks if he or she can help me.  I’m not allowed back into Kohl’s.

What am I talking about?  Jesus said in parable when you seek and feel and taste the kingdom of heaven, you will go all in.  When you find exactly what God wants you to look for, you go all in. 

You don’t walk up to the water and dip your toe in.  You will dive in headfirst.

That sounds like throwing caution to the wind.  It sounds whimsical.  It sounds foolish.  It is, unless you have eyes to see and ears to hear, then it’s just audacious.  It’s bold.  It’s decisive.  It’s courageous. 

There is a time for deliberation.  There is a time for meditation.  There is even a time for calculation, but the problem is that too many having already realized what is before them, balk when it’s time to act.

Intellectually, they know what they should do, but they do not act.  But you, who have eyes to see and ears to hear will not hesitate to enter the kingdom of heaven when you see it.

You have taken the first step by professing Jesus is Lord.

You must take his yoke and learn from him.

You seek the Lord while he may be found.

You seek his kingdom and his righteousness.

You must put his words into practice if you want to realize the kingdom now.  If you want the treasure or the pearl described in parable, you must trade in all that the world tells you is more valuable than what is before you and receive what God offers so freely.

There is the kingdom that will come about in the age to come and many more parables about it, but these two short parables are about seeing his kingdom and seizing the opportunity to enter into it without hesitation.

You have eyes to see and ears to hear that this kingdom is your home.



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