Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; 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; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:31-33,44-52
Whenever I hear of treasures or pearls of great price, I think first of my family, my three daughters in particular. I would do anything for them, and sometimes, I grieve when I cannot remove the pain and challenges of their lives. They are beautiful, strong and brilliant all, but the world has not always been a kind place for them. Clergy kids seem to have more scrutiny and judgements put on them, and bishop's kids find themselves in complicated and awkward places. They handle so much, so well. I am so proud of my pearls of great price and ache, that I cannot give them every thing they deserve.
Jesus tells the crowd about the kingdom of heaven, the work of God, and about how God sees us. The
pearls of great price, the mustard seed, the treasure, the yeast - these are how God see us. Despite our mess and confusions, our broken humanity and life's cruelties, the Divine is always seeking us out and giving all for us. We are beloved treasure to our Creator, even if we feel like garbage today. We are invited to remember, in the dark holes we find ourselves in, that we are sought after and treasured by God.
Today, I ask God to help me treasure the people I have been given. May we find our treasures, hold them tight and see God in them. May our love and gratitude be the visible signs of God's love.
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.