The pearl, the net, and the leaven

By | June 3, 2019 7:05 am

By Steve Qualls – Christpoint Church

A friend of mine owns a business that employs several people. Sometimes he will hire a person with no prior experience in the field and train them from the ground up. Sometimes he will employ a more skilled person who is knowledgeable and well trained. However, regardless of how much the workers know or don’t know, my friend has one basic rule as the boss and owner and that is to do it his way. His name and reputation are on the line. He is ultimately responsible therefore the work is completed according to his plan.

That’s how it is with kingdom business. If the kingdom is indeed like Jesus, then we, the followers of Jesus, must make our peace with the “Jesus Way.” Jesus mentions in Matthew chapter 13 that the kingdom of heaven is like a slave that found a treasure in his master’s field. He then went out and sold all he had to purchase the ground. You see, the worker knew there was no gamble in the purchase. It was worth giving up everything he possessed for what was obviously greater. The “Jesus way” is to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow him. There is no gamble in salvation, but the risk is sometimes high. The Jesus relationship is a win-win, but we may risk friends, old reputation, and persecution to get it. For every ounce of gold we discover is a ton of dirt we have to remove, but the labor is worth the reward. The “Jesus way” knows how to dig out the tons of debris in our hearts in order to reveal the ounce of treasure.

In the culture of the day, if a servant found treasure in the ground then it would belong to the owner. Do we place that type of value on our Jesus relationship today? Someone else’s relationship will never get us our mansion. We have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It’s not the mass amount of dirt coming out; it’s the hidden ounce of treasure that’s put back that changes the heart.

Jesus goes on to compare the kingdom of heaven to a merchant that did the same thing when he found a pearl. It is referred to as having great value. The “Jesus way” is so powerfully rewarding that we, like the merchant, should value it above everything. Notice that when he found that perfect pearl he stopped looking. There is nothing greater, above or even near the Jesus relationship. It doesn’t exist and can’t be found, so stop looking.

The “Jesus likes” in Matthew chapter 13 all possess a common thread. The leaven was hidden in the loaf. The treasure was hidden in the ground. The pearl was hidden in the oyster, and the fish were hidden under water.  Each one had to be pursued and searched out. When something is hidden, it has greater value when it’s found. We find the psalmist saying that “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” When adding leaven (or yeast) to the loaf, it changes the composition of the dough. The hidden ingredient becomes such an important part that it’s value is substantial. By hiding the yeast it ultimately produced enough for a crowd.

I would like to point out in verse 47 the net was cast over the whole. The net doesn’t discriminate or judge, however, righteousness does. All manner of fish were caught, but only the good were kept. The rest were thrown into the fire. “The good” are not those individuals who are more fortunate or better. They are the ones that have hidden “the Jesus way” in their hearts – the ones that went after salvation like a treasure or a perfect pearl. At the end of the day, it’s not going to matter what platform we started with. It’s only going to matter what’s been hidden in our hearts. Let’s talk about “the Jesus way” at Christpoint church this Sunday morning. We’re on the square, in Sparta, and have three service times for you to choose – 8 a.m., traditional, and 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., progressive. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.

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