of The Message
I am continuing
our series of messages on the parables of Jesus. It is amazing
to me how many people have never read the teachings of Jesus,
even people who belong to the church. If you want to know
what the Christian faith is all about, it is trying to be
followers of Jesus Christ. I believe that it is important
to learn His lessons that we are teaching through the parables
of Jesus. (A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly
meaning.) Jesus was not a preacher. He was an illustrator.
He was a storyteller. Today I want to give you some thoughts
on the Parable of the Hidden Treasure
found in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 13, verses 44-45.
kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which
a man found and hid; and for joy over it goes and sells
all that he has and buys that field.
the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful
pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price,
went and sold all that he had and bought it."
What does Jesus
mean when He teaches about "the kingdom of heaven"?
There are different nationalities and different kingdoms.
But there is a kingdom that is spiritual. It is not measured
in geography. It is not measured under the power names of
monarchs. There is a kingdom of heaven made up of a collection
of human beings scattered around the world, who accept Jesus
Christ as their Ultimate Lord. Christ is their King and
living by the teachings of their King, they live in love,
peace, community and brotherhood. These human beings all
over the world today, called Christians, belong to a spiritual
kingdom called "heaven."
It is possible
for you to discover this new kingdom that you were never
aware of, called the kingdom of heaven. You can find it
when you connect yourself with other Christians who share
love, encouragement, hope and faith, who are beautiful human
beings. This is the kingdom under the Lordship of Jesus
Christ. When you find it, you will want to do everything
you can to be a part of that kingdom because you will discover
that the most beautiful thing in life is not fame, or fortune,
or ownership of property, it is having a wonderful life
filled with joy and hope, enthusiasm and encouragement with
like-minded people in churches ... that’s the kingdom
Parable of the Hidden Treasure
It is amazing
how life is a matter of discovering treasures that we never
knew before. I've been looking back on the past 100 years
and think about all the treasures that the human race has
discovered the past century. Think of it, one hundred years
ago we didn't have telephones, television sets, we didn't
have computers. We didn't have jet airplanes. Wow! How the
world has changed. What are the hidden treasures waiting
to be discovered in the next 100 years?
Five of my eighteen grandchildren are graduating this month,
from colleges, universities and high schools. And I'm saying
to them, "Look for the hidden treasures to be discovered
in your lifetime. Look for the treasures that are waiting
to be discovered in science, medicine, and interfaith activities."
for the hidden treasures in your lifetime!
George Rowe found
his hidden treasure. He was an abused orphan at the age
of fourteen months when a new family by the name of Rowe
adopted him. They didn't think he would live because he
had been so badly abused. But they gave him life, gave him
health, and gave him beautiful love and encouragement because
Christ lived in that family. And George became a follower
of Jesus. His adopted family taught him the Christian message
that nothing is impossible!
So George Rowe
got a dream of becoming a lawyer. He went to Pepperdine
University of Law on a full scholarship and graduated with
a four-point average. He was ready to begin a practice in
law when he discovered a hidden treasure. It was his talent
to sing. George loved music, growing up in a church family,
church and music always revolved around him. Now, with his
law degree in his pocket he was discovered by David Foster,
who also discovered Celine Dion. So George gave up his law
career to buy this hidden treasure. He moved to Nashville
with his wife and children and today George Rowe is a very
successful singer sharing his music here at the Cathedral
while he tours for his album, "Think About That."
That is what
this parable is all about. The kingdom of heaven is when
you discover that there are hidden treasures out there waiting
to be found. But you do have to work to claim your treasure,
perhaps to give up a promising career to buy it. The man
who discovered the hidden treasure that Jesus talks about
spotted it, but then he worked for it, selling everything
he had to buy the field. Like some of you did in your businesses,
you saw an opportunity to create a business and you put
everything down on it. . We saw an opportunity 50 years
ago to start a church unlike any church that had ever really
been organized before and we invested all our lives into
the building of Christ's church. It is unbelievable what
God can do when we give Him our all.
treasures are often found in surprising places
are like hidden talent or hidden opportunities that you
never planned. It is amazing how many students that I’ve
known through my lifetime who have graduated with certain
majors in universities and then they went on to discover
another talent, another interest and never did use their
chemistry major, but became very successful in business,
etc. The story is constant.
Have you heard
about Smarty Jones? I’m not into horse races, but
I was attracted to the story of the horse, named Smarty
Jones. He is owned by Roy and Patricia Chapman from Philadelphia,
not Kentucky. You don't look for a Kentucky Derby winner
coming from a small ordinary horse farm in Philadelphia.
But here is Smarty Jones, a young horse, too small, with
no thoroughbred blood in his veins. In a race in July, 2003
he rears up in his starting stall, jerks his head back,
hits it against an iron rod, fractures his skull so that
the eye is bulging, and he drops unconscious. Smarty Jones
is rushed to a veterinarian. By the time he gets there,
he has regained consciousness and trots out. One year later,
Smarty Jones wins the Kentucky Derby. That is phenomenal.
Then he wins the Preakness Stakes by 11.5 length lead. No
one saw the potential in Smarty Jones, such a small ordinary
horse, but he was a hidden treasure! There are hidden treasurers
all around us and you find them where you least expect them.
A few weeks ago I heard on the radio about the guy in Germany
who was looking down at a river. He saw something flash
and couldn't believe it. What is it? He went out and recovered
it. It was a gold nugget, and now people in Germany are
wondering if there is a major gold stream in those hills
around that river. Could it be that there will be another
gold rush, this time in Germany? Could it be that gold was
there all this time? Maybe it has been there for a thousand
or more years waiting for civilization to discover it!
are waiting to be made in your life ... in your future?
You have a fantastic future. I’m telling my five grandchildren
who are graduating, "You have a fantastic future."
As human beings living on planet earth today, you are created
in the image of God. And what does that mean? What you have
within you as a human being, has not been discovered yet.
Discover the Hidden Treasure Within You
That is a gift
within you and God is waiting for you to discover it. There
is a gift in every person. You say, "Well, I can’t
sing" ... "I can’t dance" ... "I
can’t do this or that." Let me suggest to every
human being, whether you are Chinese from Hong Kong, Russian
from Moscow, Dutch from The Netherlands, or living in Germany
... I want you to know – you are a human being and
that means you have been given a gift by God. Discover that
gift and you will discover your real hidden treasure.
Now what is that
gift that everybody has? In neuroscience we now recognize
that each human being has what we call a "heart"
that is capable of sensing and receiving and welcoming a
spirit. This spirit can change your whole being and in the
process, turn you into a very creative person, even if you
haven’t been educated in a certain talent. It is phenomenal.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who crossed a
field and he found in that field, a hidden treasure."
And if you will do everything that you have within your
power as a human being, to open your heart and welcome the
Spirit of Christ, that is a real treasure!
You can go out and earn money and become very wealthy ...
that is quite possible in America today ... that can be
your treasure. It is not difficult to become a famous actor
or celebrity. All of this is possible. But the most important
treasure is a heart that is spiritually and emotionally
healthy, when you have a heart that can forgive people when
they treat you badly and they sometimes will. That is worth
more than fame or fortune. A precious treasure is when you
have certainty about life that is to come, and the confidence
that there is a God who comes to your heart in the Spirit
of Jesus Christ and gives you salvation.
the Hidden Treasure Within You
The hidden treasure
within you is a heart capable of becoming unselfish instead
of selfish, generous and giving of love, instead of trying
to get everything you can. It is a heart that cares about
people who need help. That is God’s gift to you. If
you let Christ come in, that changes everything!
I love the story
of a young man who was driving home one night. He lived
in Pennsylvania where there was a depression. Many people
had lost their jobs and this young man was also without
a job. He was driving his old car when he saw in the road
ahead, a woman standing by her Mercedes apparently in trouble.
So he pulled in front of her, got out of his car. In his
grubby clothes, he didn’t exactly look like an inviting
person to come to her car, and she was nervous and afraid.
But he said, "You got trouble, ma’m?" And
she said, "I've got a flat tire."
"Well," he said, "it’s cold, it’s
starting to rain, you just stay in the car. Open the trunk,
there is a tire jack in there, I’m sure." He
found the jack in the trunk, got it out and meanwhile, the
woman was nervous sitting in the car wondering what he would
do to her after it was all over. The young man found the
place to put the jack. He raised the car. He got the tire
off ... got the spare tire on ... came back and said, "It’s
all OK now, you can be on your way, ma’m."
And she said, "Oh, thank you, what do I owe you?"
owe me anything. I just changed your flat tire for you ...
but the next time you see somebody having a little problem,
just stop and see if you can help them. That’s the
only thing you owe me."
so much, what is your name?"
is Brian, ma’m. The only guy in this whole territory
with that name."
The woman was
very touched, waved goodbye and continued down the road.
She had never been here before and by now it was dark and
she was hungry. She saw a little café at the side
of the road. So she pulled over and entered the restaurant.
There was only one waitress who obviously was very close
to delivering a child, probably in her eighth month of pregnancy.
She looked like she had been working all day. It looked
like she was very tired, not only from working so hard,
but also carrying the weight of her unborn baby. The woman
ordered her food and the waitress brought it out without
expressing any grumbling or complaining about the fact that
she was tired and worked all day and still had work to do
and would be home late to bed.
When the waitress turned the bill in for the food to the
woman, the woman gave her a hundred dollar bill. The waitress
went to the back room of the café to break the hundred-dollar
bill, but when she came back, the woman was gone. There
was a paper napkin and on the napkin was a message, "You
don’t owe me any change. Somebody did a good thing
for me not long ago and he said, ‘if you see somebody
and they probably need some help or encouragement, pass
the love along.’ So just pass the love along."
And underneath the napkin were four one hundred dollar bills.
just cried as she cleaned up, filled the sugar bowls, got
the tables ready for tomorrow morning and locked up. When
she arrived home, her tired husband was already sleeping
in bed, but she leaned over and gave him a soft kiss saying,
"You don’t have to worry anymore about our hospital
bill with our baby! Don’t worry, Brian, I love you!"
Wow. So what
is the hidden treasure that you probably have yet to find?
What is it?
a martyr for Jesus Christ is known in history by that name.
He was one of the great church leaders of the first century.
But he wasn’t born into it. He was intelligent, brilliant,
and he wanted to find what would really make life beautiful
for him. He was in a great school of philosophy of that
ancient time and so he listened to the great philosophers
who all tried to sell their philosophies to him, but they
didn’t ring true with Justin Marytr. The philosophers
were brilliant and insightful, but it didn’t do anything
to his heart. He went to the different universities that
existed in that time, but could find no answers. And he
became a depressed young man searching; what was life all
about? Why did he want to live?
There was no
joy looking toward his future. Then walking along a lake
shore he met an old man sitting on a bench. And the man,
seeing Justin’s troubled face began talking to him.
He then asked Justin, "What do you know about Jesus?"
Justin knew nothing about Jesus. No philosopher ever spoke
of Him. Justin asked, "What did Jesus teach? What did
He come to do?" The old man said, "Let me tell
you about Him." And he told Justin that Jesus came
to create a new kingdom. Not a kingdom made with palaces
and armies and soldiers. But a kingdom made of human beings
who turn their hearts over for the love of God to come in
and flow out. To Justin this was a hidden treasure. This
was what he had been seeking. He never heard anything like
it. And Justin Martyr embraced this Jesus as his Lord and
Savior so completely that he died for Him. That’s
this Treasure of Jesus as Lord
To the young
people today, I challenge you to look at the world around
you. You will see people with talents and abilities achieving
great fame and fortune. That is possible for you, but let
me suggest the greatest treasure:
The greatest pearl, the greatest value you can see and seize
and possess is a gift of God. A loving heart unselfish,
kind, polite, considerate, encouraging because it is filled
with the Spirit of Jesus Christ
greatest treasure is a loving heart filled
with the Spirit of Jesus Christ
God has given
you that gift, though it may not be a talent, but it is
a gift that everybody can have. Nothing satisfies like this
treasure. "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who
crosses a field and sees a hidden treasure and will go out
and sell everything that he has to buy that treasure, to
buy that land just to get the hidden gift." Go out,
look at your future, and no matter who you are, no matter
where you live, no matter what your profession and career,
know that the greatest treasure – the pearl of great
price, is a Christ-filled heart. Let Christ come in and
you will be blessed forever more.
Thank you God,
that You created us as human beings with a heart that has
a place for Jesus Christ to come in. And now, O God, I pray
for my congregation here and those who join us via television
or Internet around the world. What are their goals? What
are they after? We all want peace of mind. We all want inner
joy. We all want inner feelings of goodness. We all want
to be able to look in the mirror and be proud of what we
see, and be happy with a twinkle in the eye that looks back
at us. We all want a life that is rich and rewarding in
terms of spirit, community, family and friends. Jesus Christ,
come into our hearts and we will have a future that is phenomenal.
Save us. Hallelujah. Amen.