by Ronald H. Matthews

A True Value
Rev. Ronald H. Matthews
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Sweepstakes contests and other get-rich-quick schemes abound. I expect they always have. It seems to be a basic trait of human nature to expect to get something for nothing. However, the sad truth is that millions of people get duped by the assorted con artists that prey on the gullible. Some of you may have seen this week's news exposure of the Reader's Digest Sweepstakes as an example. Several persons spent tens of thousands of dollars "investing" in the contest.

Lots of people look for value amid a world filled with false treasures. Confronted with enticing ads from the media; we are tantalized with all the stuff which promises us ultimate satisfaction. Many fall victim to this illusion, which ends in futility and disappointment. "We find it hard to get what we want, because we do not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best and we will not take it." (George MacDonald) These parables tell us that the Kingdom of God has such value that a wise person will be willing to give up everything to possess that which is the greatest of all things. Once you realize the true value of the Kingdom of God, you will be unable to settle for anything else--indeed all the false promises and false prophets in the world cannot compare to God's grace and mercy in Jesus Christ and His promise of eternal hope/joy.

In the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (better translated as Value), because there is a vast difference between price and value and that difference is vital in discovering the meaning of this parable. Oscar Wilde once observed, "Americans know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Price is the cost you have to pay to get something you want. Value is what something is really worth. They are not always the same. Beanie Babies come to mind as a simple case in point.

In this story, the price was high! Both men had to sell everything they had in ...

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