#187 (26/06/05)
Once Upon All Time: Creation – Part 4

The Message

By: Robert H. Schuller

Special Guest

She’s from Thomas Nelson Publishing Company and she was my guest here about a year ago. “Revolve,” it’s the complete New Testament. It’s in a magazine format and it’s for teen girls. It was the number one selling Bible for the year 2003. It’s still the number one selling Bible here in America. She decided to come out with one for boys, And here we are, “Refuel.” It just came out the second week of April, and it’s the number two selling Bible in America right now.

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" Now is the Time for Faith "
" Festival Alleluias "
" God, Make My Life a Happy Song "

" Lord, You Have Been our Dwelling Place "

GEORGE ROWE - "Everlasting"

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.

"The 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.

Again, 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 of heaven.

The 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."

Look 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.

Hidden treasures are often found in surprising places

Hidden treasures 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!

What discoveries 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 V 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.

Discover 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?"

"You don・t 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."

"Thank you so much, what is your name?"

"My 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.

The waitress 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?

Justin Martyr, 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 phenomenal.

Embrace 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

The 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 V 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.

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