How much are you willing to give up for God?
That’s really the question this Sunday — whether we realize it or not.
In Matthew’s Gospel the last couple of Sundays, Jesus has been telling his listeners about the kingdom, comparing it to different ways of planting. But here, he tells us it is not just something small that grows; it is an unexpected treasure to be found, like a pearl. The one who finds something like that will sell everything to possess it.
That is God’s kingdom on earth.
How much are we willing to give up to get it?
How far are we willing to go?
What will we sacrifice?
Considering this Gospel: selling all our possessions, literally everything we own, might not seem that practical.
But now might be a good time to ask: what things we possess are we willing to get rid of?
I’m not talking about the widescreen TV or that collection of cookware or the Playstation your kids can’t live without.
What do we own that we can do without?
Maybe we own indifference.
Maybe we are holding on to selfishness.
Maybe we possess intolerance toward anyone who is different or harbor hate toward anyone we disagree with.
Maybe we just can’t forgive.
Maybe we have a collection of grievances — whether against our friends, our family, our neighbors.
Maybe we have stored away years of anger. Bitterness. Hostility. Spite.
Start a clearance sale. Unpack those boxes. Sell what is useless — and invest in what is useful, a treasure that is beyond price: God’s kingdom. That means the Gospel values that define us as Christians. Love for the Lord, love for your neighbor.
That is the lesson Jesus is teaching in this Gospel. We need to give up those things we possess that define us and protect us and wall us off from the world. Divest those things that are keeping us from discovering the kingdom of heaven, because they are grounding us too deeply in things of the world.
Right now, it is a world in crisis.
These last few months of the pandemic have taught us hard lessons about what we need, what we don’t. What we possess, and what possesses us. We have been challenged to live, work and worship differently.
We have come to realize what we truly treasure.
I hope and pray we come to understand more deeply what lasts. What endures. What never grows old.
I hope, too, that this time has given us all a deeper appreciation for “the pearl of great price,” that small object that is beyond price, the Eucharist.
Here and now, may we renew our love for that great gift.
May we take the precious time we have to give up what we don’t need, so that we can possess what our hearts do need — so that we may face these challenging times in God’s kingdom on earth with gratitude, with purpose, and with joy.