Sunday, November 29, 2015

Are You All In?

By Allen White 

The kingdom of heaven is like 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.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46

I don’t gamble. But, once in a while I will watch high stakes poker games on TV. Poker is part strategy, part psychology, and part dumb luck. Not very often, but every once in a while, a player gets a hand that can’t be beat. They go “all in.” They bet the farm, if they own one.

In both of these comparisons, Jesus challenges those who follow Him to go all in. Just like someone who discovered a valuable treasure or pearl would sell everything to purchase such a prize, Jesus calls us to offer all that we have, personally or materially, to follow Him. God’s kingdom is worth betting the farm.

Now, I have to admit I’ve always struggled with the first example. The man finds the treasure, hides the treasure, then purchases the field. Shouldn’t some sort of disclosure be involved?

Jesus Christ didn’t encourage anyone to commit fraud. We must assume the law of the land allowed for this type of transaction. Their culture, obviously, was not nearly as litigious as ours. What’s found in the field stays in the field.

What does it mean to hock everything of value to secure one priceless treasure? Jesus says the treasure is the kingdom of heaven -- something of greater value than Granny’s vase on Antiques Roadshow. But, have we gone “all in” on the kingdom of God?

At this point in my life, I’m worth more dead than alive financially. I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact.

Every month I pay an insurance premium that is only a hundredth of a percent of my policy’s value should I graduate to glory. In that event, my family would be provided for, and I could rest in peace.

All I have to put up to secure my family’s financial future in the event of my passing is a token of the policy’s value. If I paid my premium every month for the full length of the 30 year policy, I will have only paid about 3.5 percent of the policy’s value. In actual dollars, I haven’t invested that much.

It’s a bet. The life insurance company is betting I’ll live beyond the life of my insurance policy. I’m certainly not “all in” with this financially. But, in order for anyone to collect, I would have to go “all in” physically.

In this day and age, people wouldn’t put up all of their assets for a pearl or a hidden treasure. They would take out a loan. They would leverage the potential value. They would make easy monthly payments. The problem is the kingdom of God can’t be acquired on credit, yet some of us are negotiating a layaway plan.

So, what are we supposed to do? Should we sell everything we have and move into a Christian commune that might turn into some sort of reality show? Certainly not. The kingdom of God has more to do with possessing us rather than possessing our assets.

The hard question asks: What is more valuable in our lives than God’s kingdom? Not just the things we write a check for, but where do we devote our time and energy? What causes us to jump out of bed?

God put us on this earth to fulfill His purpose for our lives. Somebody wrote a book about that. God’s purpose for your life is not a mystery. What do you love to do? What bothers you the most? What can you do about it? The answers to these questions will point to your purpose.

When you discover your kingdom purpose, you will easily cash in poor investments and go all in on what God designed you to do. That may be hard to believe, but maybe you have yet to discover the best thing you’ve ever done.

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