Thursday, July 23, 2020

LHM Daily Devotions July 23, 2020 - "Valuable to God"

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20200723

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Valuable to God"

July 23, 2020

(Jesus said) "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

When my husband was born in Vietnam, his father broke custom and gave him a lovely name. You have to understand that, in this country full of spiritism and worry about bad luck, people often gave their children bland or even terrible names. If you named your child something good, the thinking went, that would attract demons who would come to see what the good thing was and take it away. So to protect their beloved children, they would name them things like "trash."

But my father-in-law was a Christian, and he wasn't having any of that. "God will protect my children," he said, and he gave them all lovely names. The names reflected the treasures he believed his children to be. And to my husband, the youngest surviving child, he gave the name "Shining bright pearl"—or as we would say it, "pearl of great price."

My father-in-law was thinking of this parable of Jesus—the one where a merchant discovers an incredibly valuable pearl and sells everything he has just to buy it. You may have heard this story told before as an example of how we should treasure the Gospel and give up everything we have to get it. But that's not what Jesus means here. In this parable, Jesus is the merchant looking for pearls; and we are the shining bright pearl He discovers and just has to have—no matter what it costs Him.

And have us He does. He lays aside His heavenly glory and all His power, safety, and comfort in heaven. He becomes a human infant, born into a poor family. He grows up to work hard and wander across the country, teaching and healing the sick. When the authorities come after Him, He submits to an unjust trial and a cruel execution on a cross—knowing that this is the way—the only way—He can redeem us from the power of evil. He pays for us with His own blood.

But that isn't the end of the story. No, now that He has laid down everything He has, even His own life, to have us—now the story takes an upward turn. Jesus rises from the dead—and He brings us with Him. Now that we are His, He refuses to let us out of His hands. Not even death will keep us from Him. In His resurrection, we rise too—because Jesus has promised to give us eternal life with Him forever. He will raise our bodies at the last day, and we will live with Him in joy in the new heavens and earth He is making. For we are His treasure, and He will never let us be lost.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for treasuring me. Help me to treasure You as well. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. When you were a child, what was one of your treasures?

2. What do you treasure now as you are older, and why?

3. What effect does it have on you to realize that God regards you as a treasure, and will give up all He has to have you?
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
When you were a child, what was one of your treasures?

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