The Kingdom Underground: Pearls

A response to the "small group questions" for the 31 March 2019 message at First Pres, Boulder. [1]

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!

exerpt from the New Living Translation of the gospel of Matthew [2]

Recall a story of a time when you stumbled on something of great worth. What was it? How did it make you feel?

I don't think I've quite had a "treasure in a field" moment. The closest thing that comes to mind are the employment opportunities that I've had. I often tell the story of when my team lead at Argonne first casually mentioned KAUST over lunch. That day I asked Andi for her thoughts about applying for a job there. She was a bit dismissively reluctant at first, but we pursued the possibility together, in response to the niggling sense that there was something important there. (And was there! "Everything that follows is a result of what you see here.")

And there was a similar situation when we came out to Boulder. Andi felt a niggling that this was where we were supposed to be; and, though I was more than a bit reluctant at first, I went looking and found... this. The life we have now.

Both of these situations make me feel like the way ahead of me is prepared. The truth is apparent to those who honestly seek it. I pray I continue in earnest.

Where have you experienced in your own life some of the "treasure" of knowing Jesus Christ?

I've meditated before on the nature of having been in the church "a long time." I think I'm ill-equipped to understand the proportional value of the treasure of Christ in my life, being as I am so assumptively familiar with it--I know little else.

I see the blessings of the life that I have, and I thank God for it; but I can't say that that's sufficient, because I thank Christ for more than that.

I often think that my children and my family help give me peace; because I don't have to worry about having correct motivaiton. No that my motivations are always correct; but because I can consider whether my motivations are in support of or at the expense of my family. It's a useful metric.

But the same is true more fundamentally of Christ. If I need to evaluate the rightness of my heart or my actions, I only have to meditate with the Spirit. Beyond that is faith.

What holds you back from going "all in" with Jesus and his kingdom?

I often allow myself to become distracted or consumed by the mundane logistics of daily life. More completely, I procrastinate many things in the face of the seeming mundanity. Or, because of a sense that there is too much for me to be able to complete (at least, in the time that I wish it would take for me to complete it) I in stead do nothing.

How might you cooperate with God and move closer to joyful surrender to Jesus?

But that is not where it should end. I need to realize that even mundane daily tasks are--or can be--worship, and as such have the potential for intrinsic value. I haven't read it yet, but Andi is talking well of The Liturgy of the Ordinary, and I'm thinking I should read it soon as well.

[1] The Kingdom Underground: Pearls
[2] Matthew 13:44-46