Mission Harvest © 2011 William J. Brannan
What if there was a clear roadmap to heal the economic, moral, social and political ailments of society which was guaranteed to work? Would we be willing to invest our time and energy to bring it about? Such a roadmap is clearly spelled out in the Bible. Society today is like a beggar living on the street who is heir to a multi-billion dollar fortune. He lives in poverty because he does not know about the wealth that is his. Jesus likened the kingdom of God to a treasure hid in a field which, when a man finds it, for joy over it he sells all he has to possess it. Mission Harvest Newsletters are part of a dream that I have of connecting people with a vision of the future that is impregnated with hope, a hope which will not fail because it is founded upon the word of God.
I think that some of the key elements of Jesus’ parable that speak to us today are:
1. The treasure was hidden.
2. Finding the treasure causes great joy.
3. We must sell all to possess the treasure.
The Treasure Was Hidden
People today often look at the church and the Bible as irrelevant with regard to solving the problems facing society today. This is not only true of unbelievers, but also of many believers. They have never discovered the full treasure of Biblical religion which has riches for the world to bless both believers and unbelievers alike. Much of modern religion relegates the kingdom of God to life after death. The best that it hopes for is to help individuals to feel happier and have somewhat improved lives while society rots. It sees itself as an oasis in the midst of a desert. What many people do not realize is that the church is meant to turn the desert of the world into an oasis. Jesus called His disciples the salt of the Earth and the light of the world. Salt in Jesus’ day was used as a preservative. It kept things from rotting. True religion preserves society. True Biblical religion has power to heal the nations and bring light into the darkness. It offers not only hope for a future kingdom but real solutions for life today.
The kingdom of God is a present reality which can be experienced today. Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of God was at hand. This language does not mean that it is coming soon; it literally means that it is at hands length. It can be touched, grasped and experienced today. The full implications of Biblical religion is like a treasure hidden in a field today which has the potential to solve the problems of modern society.
Finding the Treasure Causes Great Joy
I really like going to the gym because I get to converse with all kinds of people there. Concern over the state of politics and business in America is on the minds of many. There seems to be a general sentiment that things are completely broken, that corruption is so entrenched, so that there is nothing which can be done to rectify the situation. Many people do not have a vision of how things can be fixed. If they were to turn to the Bible they would find a clear roadmap to bring about national healing.
To help people catch the vision I like to point out that America has faced great evil in the past, and there have been great heroes of faith who have led us out. One of those evils was racism and segregation, and one of the heroes of faith is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He confronted the evil of racism and segregation in his day with the strategies and wisdom found in Biblical religion. He was a Baptist pastor who was inspired by Biblical faith, and saw such values reflected in the strategies of Ghandi, who by the way, was also was influenced by Biblical religion. King's revolution was a revolution of righteousness which didn't simply trade one evil for another. It brought healing because it didn't fight evil with evil but overcame evil with good.
There are many forms of evil that are plaguing society today. They are just as evil and just as great as the evil confronted by Dr. Martin Luther King. The solution to overcome them is found in the same place where Dr. King found the inspiration for his dream. Reviving the dream of justice and liberty in the hearts and minds of people causes great joy. It is the dream of the kingdom of God. The liberty Dr. King fought for was just one aspect of godly society; there are many battles and victories to be won in our day by people who have a dream.
We Must Sell All to Possess the Treasure
Going back to our model hero, we would never have heard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. if all he did was dream a dream. He not only had the dream of a better world, but he labored to bring it about. If we overlook this key principle, all we will have is an unfulfilled dream which has no power to bless or to heal. Such religion truly is pie in the sky when we die; it lacks the self-sacrificing love which transforms the world. True heroes of faith from all ages confronted evil in their day by laying down their lives in sacrifice of their dream. If we are going to have a similar impact in our generation, we must do the same. Jesus gave us a new commandment, that we love one another just as He loved us. The new part of the commandment wasn’t the fact that we are commanded to love one another. That was part of Biblical religion from the beginning. The new part is that we are to do it just like Jesus loved us. He laid down his life for us, and true religion calls people to do the same today. Such religion will heal the world and overcome the problems facing society today.