August 13, 2017: 10th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior, as the only God Who exists, the only God Who invested His entire life in our eternal future, we owe You everything. We owe You our every breath, every heartbeat, every blink of the eye, absolutely everything. Today we ask You to fix our gaze even more upon You and not to be shy about investing our hearts and souls with You, alone. Amen


TEXT: Matthew 13: 44-52

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!” How often have you heard that expression and acted upon its wisdom—even if your eggs come in modern shock-proof cartons! The financial management people have their own variation of that phrase. It is: Diversify your investments so that if one goes down the others will hopefully cushion the impact on your portfolio. Advisors helping you plot out your academic career have a similar dictum: “Don’t pursue too narrow a major, as diverse classes should make you more employable.” It’s why you send out multiple resumes when looking for a job. And it’s also why people usually don’t give themselves totally over to another in relationships right away even if they are in love. “Once burned, twice smart” is another way of saying: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”


Such life truths are ingrained in us due to the lessons taught by the school of hard knocks. And that is why our lesson is so jarring. For right here, Jesus tells us to do the exact opposite when it comes to Him and His kingdom! Listen to these two “all or nothing” parables: “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.”

The “field/treasure” parable’s imagery doesn’t need any explanation. We all get it. The pearl of great price parable does, so let me add these few words. Since about 1900 pearls have been relatively cheap. That’s when Mikimoto figured out how to farm them, hence the “cultured pearl.” But before that, pearls were the most expensive and sought after gem in the entire world. Diamonds and rubies are not the centerpiece in many ancient crowns, pearls were! That’s because they could only be obtained by divers holding their breath, free diving, groping around the sea floor, grabbing whatever they saw in terms of oysters, and then speeding to the surface. After that they would cut them open and see if a pearl was inside. More often than not, no pearl. Sometimes it was a small or misshapen pearl. And very, very rarely a big one. BTW, this is where baroque pearls come from.—It was extremely rare to find a round, flawless one under such conditions.

The point Christ is making is this: God’s kingdom of grace is worth literally everything you possess and more. What exactly is your soul worth? Well, we know that to God it is worth the blood, the life, of His Son Jesus Christ. Certainly the life of God’s Son is more precious than anything on planet earth. And so, when you find His grace, when He comes and offers total forgiveness and a heavenly home to you, why would you hedge your bets and not go all in? And yet, many people do.

Prof. Otto in my seminary days once told us: “Don’t ever sit back and try to figure out who among your congregation is truly one of the elect and who is just putting on a good show like Ananias and Sapphira. Your job isn’t to read hearts, it is to preach God’s Word to everyone and let God worry about their hearts.” That’s really good advice. To do otherwise would emotionally crush any minister. That being said, I fear for believers who hedge their bets when it comes to their faith in God. I fear for those who are not willing to give their entire being over to God, not in fear or second-guessing, but in unbridled gratitude. The point of the Gospel is that Christ gave everything He had in total love for us when He died on the cross. To give Him back only a third, or only half our heart is a slap in the face. It is really saying: “Lord, I don’t trust you.” And a lack of trust means a lack of faith.


The totality of human life—all science, all finance, all technology, all medicine, all human building and manufacturing—literally everything is grouped together and contained in the next little parable. “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age.”

Right now the net has been let down. Right now human souls and everything they hold so dear are being gathered into that net. And when that gathering task has been completed, the judgement process, the culling of the good from the bad will occur.

So, what differentiates a carp from a trout or a bullhead from a haddock? One is considered a “good fish” and another a “trash fish.” Both swim in water. Both have flesh. Both can be eaten and are therefore useful. But one is superior to another and more highly prized. Well, these fish stand for people. And the one thing that differentiates people is faith in God or a lack thereof. Faith appreciates God’s blessings. Faith recognizes what He has done and is doing to save our souls. Faith looks at Christ and sees a depth of Godly love that goes beyond what our words can describe. Faith wants God to really BE God for that particular soul and is happy to give everything over to Him because it knows that: “In Him we live, move, and have our very being.”

My friends, we live in a world in which hedging one’s bets is the norm and going “all in” is considered the motto of a fool. Yet, when we put all our eggs in Christ’s basket, it really is supreme wisdom. In fact, it’s exactly what Jesus did when He came to earth, suffered and died to redeem our souls, isn’t it? Heaven is Christ’s home. If we want to end up there, we need to follow Him in all things. We need to sign our power of attorney over to Him and then bask in the joy of knowing that unlike us, He’ll never drop the basket or break even a single egg! And even if we inadvertently crack a shell while engaging in that transfer to His mighty arm, He’s still our loving Lord who “in all things works for the good of those who love him.” Adopt such an attitude and cultivate such a faith. You’ll be amazed at how well you sleep when you do……Amen