Have you ever been with friends, family, or some large group where the goodwill seemed to overflow and the love radiate without conscious effort? You may have been very near “the treasure.”

The kingdom of God is the zone of unhindered grace, yet to come fully among us, but always appearing when human beings are willing to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. (See Micah 6:8.) The slow process of discipleship involves learning through trial and error to live into these better angels of our nature.

The same gift of God’s love that embraces us completely as we are calls us to change if we want to possess the treasure fully. Both plower and merchant must sell all they have to purchase their precious finds. Just so, Jesus tells us to “strive to enter” the zone of more fully realized grace (Luke 13:24). The Greek word for strive implies a struggle, a dealing with opposition and hindrance. The next parable in today’s passage (vv. 47-50) offers an image of sorting through that which is of the kingdom of heaven and that which is not.

Jesus, in another passage, says that where our treasure is “there will your hearts be also” (Matt. 6:21). But so many attachments set down roots in our hearts. Do I enjoy the adrenalin rush of argument? Do I find self-justification in criticizing others’ faults? What in me resists truly life-giving, reciprocal relationships of mutual help and service? All such attachments are like the unsuitable fish that must be sorted through in the parable.

Practice may not make perfect, but it can make proficient. Agape—loving care, consideration, and compassion—can be practiced. This is the treasure buried in the field of all our hearts, waiting to be released and developed by grace.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

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Lectionary Week
July 20–26, 2020
Scripture Overview

Jacob has tricked his brother out of his birthright and has tricked his blind father into blessing him instead of his older brother. This week the trickster is tricked, and his desire to marry Rachel will cost him dearly. The psalmist reflects on the faithfulness of God. God has made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the author is confident that God will honor that covenant. Paul builds upon his argument to the Romans about the power of the Spirit. The Spirit helps us pray to connect with God, and nothing can separate us from the love of God. Jesus continues to teach about the kingdom of God using parables. Finding our way into the kingdom is worth far more than anything else.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Genesis 29:15-28. How does a wise faith help you discern between differing loves?
Read Psalm 105:1-11, 45b. How is your faith journey an extension of God’s covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
Read Romans 8:26-39. How have you experienced prayer as an opening of yourself to God’s Spirit rather than a petition for yourself or others?
Read Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. How are you growing in Christ? If your faith has become stagnant, what “sorting” might help you to continue to grow toward proficiency in being Christlike?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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