How do we seek the kingdom of heaven? Why must we accept God’s gift? Steph Nickel talks about finding and storing priceless treasure.
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Matthew 13:44-46 refers to the kingdom of heaven as treasure. It says, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (ESV).
And just how do we find this treasure in the first place?
It begins with a personal relationship with Jesus. It isn’t something we can ever earn. In fact, salvation is referred to repeatedly in Romans 5 as a free gift. Verse 17 says, “For if, because of one man’s trespass [Adam’s], death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (ESV).
And it is only by accepting this gift that we have any desire to count the cost of living a life of obedience, of following where Jesus leads. And it’s only as the Lord pours out that abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness that we would be able to consider the words of passages such as Luke 14:26-27.
Theses verses disclose the tremendous cost of following the Lord. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (ESV).
Only in God’s economy could a free gift motivate us to give up the treasure we’ve accumulated on Earth in favour of storing up treasure in heaven.
Accepting God’s Gift
I don’t believe it does, but I do believe that there should be nothing that stands in the way of obeying the truths God reveals in His Word. There shouldn’t be anything—or anyone—more important to us than God Himself. Our love for God should infinitely outshine our love for those we hold dear.
Are we to love our family? Of course. The Scriptures make it clear that we are to love even our enemies.
But it isn’t loving to seek to please them when it means disobeying God’s clear direction. It doesn’t mean remaining silent about spiritual matters because it may upset them. And it doesn’t mean pretending to be one way when they’re around and another when they’re not.
The Pearl Of Great Value
It’s a matter of priorities. How much time do we spend accumulating earthly treasure and developing human relationships for anything beyond making God’s kingdom known? How loosely do we hold our possessions? If our favourite heirloom gets broken … if our child turns his back on the faith … if life holds more heartache than we bargained for, do we still view God’s kingdom as the “pearl of great value”?
These are all very lofty concepts. What does it look like in day-to-day life?
We must seek to spend time in prayer and in the study of God’s Word several times each week. Of course we should do this alone, with other believers, and with the members of our family—even those who don’t believe, if at all possible.
We ought to keep company with fellow believers. Will our relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ be without challenges? We all know that’s not the case. However, there’s nothing like fellowshipping with other believers to encourage our hearts and remind us of the truth of His Word. Friendship with those who are sold out to furthering God’s kingdom—or as one of my friends says, “manifesting His kingdom”—will motivate us to do the same.
We ought to make each decision prayerfully. God will show us what it looks like to individually seek His kingdom. The choices you make each day will be different than the choices I make. What career we ought to pursue. Where we are to live. What relationships we are to pursue and those that are drawing us away from the Lord. (I am not talking about walking away from our spousal or parental responsibilities. Family relationships is an entirely different series of devotionals.
Today, let’s devote ourselves to seeking that pearl of great value.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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