The ground hogs were becoming a nuisance. One dug itself a new home by our front door, crawled onto the table sitting in front of our living room bay window, and looked in on us. Another dug its home by the church kitchen door, where it could be seen munching on the flowers. As soon as we would move one critter on, another would move in from the six-acre woods next door.
Something had to be done.
Then on a Friday, a surveying crew marked the woods boundaries. The following Monday, a crew started clearing the trees, and by the time six acres of brush and trees was turned to mulch, a lot of the ground hogs had moved on.
We’ve been wondering who might take their place. I think a restaurant would be nice. We could park, worship, and walk to dinner. One of you has predicted a motel. A few see an office moving in. Others see a small shopping center. Whatever it turns out to be, negotiations for acquiring the new space will start with a listing price of five and a half million dollars. In my economy, that’s way too much to pay for 6.36 acres of tree stumps, ground hog holes, and a pile of old tires, unless, of course, I knew there was a treasure to be found there.
Business is like that, and so is the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus said is like a 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. (Matthew 13:47)
God works that way.
Peter left his business for the treasure of a life following Jesus, and learning to fish for souls. Paul wrote off his reputation and career for the treasure of gaining Christ and being found in him. At great cost, both traveled the world to create new churches in new places. Paul would write that he was jailed, hurt in riots, endured long days, sleepless nights, and gone hungry. In it all, Paul said, The Holy Spirit has been with us, and our love has been real. We have spoken the truth, and God’s power has worked in us. (2 Corinthians 6:6-7) Out of it all, Peter wrote, God makes us a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:1-9)
The joy God offers us in Christ is the greatest treasure of all. We find that joy by seeking God’s kingdom above all else, giving our whole heart to Christ, and sharing his life with the world.