What treasures lie just beyond our gaze?
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a rare and immensely valuable asteroid called “16 Psyche” in the solar system’s main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroid Psyche measures 140 miles across and is about the size of West Virginia.
Unlike most asteroids that are either rocky or icy, 16 Psyche is made almost entirely of metals. And given the asteroid’s size, its metal content could be worth $10 quadrillion ($10,000,000,000,000,000,000), or about 10,000 times the global economy in 2019.1 What looked like a worthless piece of space rock turns out to be an asteroid of inestimable value.
Jesus told two parables that illustrated something valuable disguised as something worthless: a treasure hidden in a field and a pearl of great value(Matt. 13:44-46).
People who saw the actions of the man who found treasure in a field probably felt that he had lost his mind when he sold everything in order to buy the field. But he was rewarded. The same for the person who found the pearl.
The apostle Paul put it like this: “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).2
Likewise, Christians may be perceived as crazy for being willing to live and sacrifice for Jesus, but spiritual things are spiritually discerned: “People who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit,” wrote the apostle Paul. “It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means” (1 Cor. 2:14).
Ideally, Christians live only for Christ’s approval. The apostle Paul, addressing people’s perspectives about his ministry, put it plainly: “As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point” (1 Cor. 4:3).
So how do we live for Christ and do it successfully? Three things:
Be submissive. Any difficult journey begins with the understanding that we don’t know what we’re doing and must be led by someone who does.
James, one of the early leaders of the New Testament church, wrote about the importance of this mindset: “Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (James 4:7, 8).
Be consistent. Living in this broken world can make even the bravest, toughest disciples consider throwing in the towel. But the New Testament offers this image: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Heb. 12:1, 2).
Be social. John Donne famously wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself.” No one makes it successfully through life on their own. For support in gaining entry into God’s eternal kingdom, we must become part of a larger church congregation.
Notice how the Bible describes the relationship of that first community of believers: “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, . . . and to prayer. . . . They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).
After this life on earth is done, Christ’s followers will be rewarded—not only with heaven and eternal life, but the real treasure: a face-to-face experience with Him. The apostle John wrote this incredible description of life in eternity: “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (Rev. 21:3, emphasis supplied).
This treasure, like the expensive asteroid, will truly be out of this world! I hope to see you there.
1 observer.com/2020/10/nasa-discover-asteroid-pysche-metal-10-quadrillion/, accessed Oct. 30, 2020.
2 Bible texts are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.