Our actions always reveal our beliefs or values. When I’m in my healthiest frame of mind, I will take time to examine my actions and what they tell me about what I believe. When I’m focused solely on working, it’s likely that I am finding my identity in what I do instead of who I am. Or when I find myself getting increasingly frustrated at myself and others, that’s often an indicator that I am valuing my own voice over the Lord’s. My actions are an opportunity for me to examine my motivations and then allow the Lord to correct me as needed.
Matthew 13 is filled with stories about how people responded to the Kingdom. I believe each of these parables can reveal who God is and who we are. They also give us an insight into the Kingdom that he has graciously welcomed us into. By looking at the actions of the characters in the story, we can learn a lot about the belief system and values of the Kingdom.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46 (NIV)
Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that these two men were going about their days in very different ways. One man was looking for the treasure and one wasn’t, yet they both found something of immense value. The first man found the hidden treasure, but we don’t know what he was initially on the hunt for. The second man was searching for treasure and found what he was looking for—and I bet it was more glorious than he had ever imagined. The Lord is so much bigger and wiser than we can even fathom and makes himself available to those who are searching for him and those who might be seeking something else. I’m grateful that he catches the attention of people like me who weren’t even looking for him.
Both men saw the value in what they had found and then were moved to action. They couldn’t let something this precious be neglected, forgotten, stolen, or passed by. I wonder how often we overlook the immense value of the Kingdom because we’re focused on other things. Or because we’ve grown accustomed to the taste of the world that we miss the surpassing glory of God.
It’s so easy to think of reading the Bible or praying as “chores” instead of what both of these are: a privilege. God didn’t have to make himself accessible to us, but he has. Last month, my church walked through a series called The Essentials where we discussed 5 essential elements of our lives. One week was all about the Word of God. During the sermon, my pastor read three chapters of the Bible and followed that up with a question: “Was what we just did enough? And if not, why?”
So often we claim that God’s word and his presence are more than enough for us, but our lives don’t reflect it. My life doesn’t reflect it. Instead, we focus on other things (some of which are good and noble), but we lose sight of how precious God is.
Thankfully, even when we forget about the surpassing splendor and glory of God, he doesn’t neglect us. These parables also remind me of the sacrifice of Jesus for us. He set aside his perfection and glory to reunite us with God. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us; what a good God we serve! When we understand what he has done and who he is, it’s a joy, just like the men in this parable, to give away everything for him.
I wonder how the world might look if we viewed God, ourselves, and others as precious and worthy of sacrificing for. What if we were willing to lay down our lives for the sake of something far greater? Let’s examine our actions, allow God to realign our values, and run after him today!
What do your actions say that you value?
Do you view God, yourself, and others as precious?