The Bare Soul - April 25, 2010
Hidden Treasure

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Hidden Treasure, A Message of Fidelity and Covenant" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on April 22, 2010.

Hidden Treasure - April 22, 2010

Matthew 13:44 - The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Recently, I was running at a local high school track where I noticed a fellow with a metal detector busily working the grassy grounds around the school buildings. The steady and patient sweeping back and forth of the man and the machine intrigued me as I looped the track. After my run, I went up and chatted with him, asking if he had found anything. He mentioned locating some loose change which was about the extent of his findings. I asked him if he would be interested in coming over to my house and to search my yard for something I had lost many years ago. At the time I lost it, this particular item didn't seem that important of a loss. But as the years went by, it mattered more and more. About 10 years previous, I was out mowing the yard and I had slipped my wedding band in my shorts pocket for "safe keeping". In reality, it was an outward expression of an inward malignancy that was going on in my own heart regarding my marriage. When opportunities would arise, such as working in the yard or using power equipment, I would invariably take my ring off. Truth be told, I was really wishing that I was once again single and so the game of "hide the ring" became a common practice when convenient. I was running from the power of the ring and what it meant in my own dissatisfied heart toward my bride. There was nothing wrong with her -- the problem was with me. Just as my marriage was in trouble, I was stumbling in my relationship with Jesus Christ. My heart was divided in both my marriage and in my commitment to the Lord. Gone from both was the value I had once given to these wonderful treasures.

Within a short amount of time, I found that my new friend David the treasure hunter was a Christ-follower. I told him that I believed it was God-ordained that we met and he sensed a grave responsibility to help me find this ring. I told him that it meant a lot to me now and that I would reward him substantially if he was able to locate it. I showed him the less expensive substitute band I had purchased a few weeks after losing the original. I had worn this band reluctantly at my wife's behest, playing the same "hide the ring" game as before. However, as months went by our marriage began to heal. We refocused our marriage upon God's love and grace and our love grew as never before. There came a point in our marriage, several years ago, that I would not take off my wedding band no matter what. It was then I knew that God had shown me that my wife and I would always be together, much the same as we would always be with Christ.

After an hour or so of diligent searching, David found the ring in the back yard close to the tomato garden. He told me it was a near miracle he located it because of the amount of underground interference with buried electrical lines. However, it was like there was a long enough "hush" in that area that allowed him to hear the distinctive sound of metal. Once he dug it up, it was truly like finding a long lost treasure that had hence grown in value through the years. When I lost it, it did not matter to me whether I saw it again. However, to find it that day, it brought tears to my eyes. It was truly a moment of understanding regarding the love that grows between a man and woman and the expression of that love through something as simple as a wedding band. How much more when Christ gave His life at an incalculable cost for the treasure that He desired -- the souls of humankind. Or, in retrospect, how much we as unbelievers despised the treasure of His sacrifice until the light of His revelation dawned upon our hearts to teach us otherwise? It was a great moment of clarity when those of us who know the Savior understood that the life of God was spent for us.  That he bled and died and then was buried in the earth, rising again on behalf of all mankind. For me, this ring needed to lay buried for 10 years until God would once again entrust to me its true significance. Not only did the Lord need to teach me about a loving relationship between my wife and me, but also the covenant of fidelity that He had since recreated in me toward my God. For those of us who are or were "God challenged", Christ still lies buried in that historical tomb. Many simply cannot grasp by faith that a Savior died and was resurrected on their behalf. Multitudes caught in the valley of decision spurn Christ yet God waits patiently for their hearts to become malleable to the working of His love. So much "interference" both of the flesh and the devil seek to keep Christ's candidates from finding the treasure that they lost when they once had a zeal for the things of God. While one might believe that their treasure (salvation) is kept in safe-keeping for a time when they wish to seek the Lord, God will only give certain opportunities to seize upon the prize. Even as the writer of Hebrews tells us, there is a day fixed for all of us to enter God's rest and to find His great treasure that He desires all to partake (Hebrews 4:6-8). Paul, in the second book of the Corinthians tells us to not overlook the day of salvation, but to act upon "today" for there may not be a tomorrow (II Corinthians 6:2).

This was my day of "ring redemption" when I met David and he miraculously helped me find a long lost treasure. Even so, there are appointed days for us all to seek and then find the greatest treasure ever offered to mankind. We simply need enough humility to say that we need someone to guide us in our search. The Holy Spirit is always there to help us if we will but ask for His help. Whether we have never met the Savior or we have somehow lost our way and buried hope in a tomb of hopelessness, God is near to help us once and for all find the buried treasure that can truly set us free. May God help us all to find Him and to prize Him above all, selling out for Jesus Christ in this remarkable day of salvation!

O Lord, that we would find you ... the greatest treasure ever offered to mankind. That we would prize you above all and always hold you dear as the most remarkable gift we could ever possess. Thank you Lord! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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