This is the first time I've handed my blog over to a guest. But I've been traveling with Gabe this summer, and I want you to hear his heart and his view of the work Asia's Hope is doing. Gabe is a pastor at Columbus, Ohio's Scarlet City Church. Enjoy.
The shortest two parables Jesus’ told are recorded in Matthew 13:
The kingdom of heaven is like a 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. (Matthew 13:44)
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. (Matthew 13:45-46)
Two parables in three verses. But don’t let the size of the parables fool you. Jesus was a master of packing depth of insight into words.
Until recently I had always heard these parables explained as though people are the ones searching for something, a relationship with God is the treasure, and when we find God he is worth giving everything up for to receive. That has some appeal. Truth be told, God is worth giving everything up for. But there the problem lies. Which of us has given up everything to get God?
Now consider a different way to interpret the parables. God is in search of a great treasure, and when he comes across you he is elated, and in his joy he gives up everything he has in order to bring you into his rightful possession.
God’s grand story of redemption is like a magnificent treasure hunt. When he finds his image bearers, people, buried in the midst of this ash heap of a broken world fractured by sin, he goes and gives away everything, even to the extent of giving his life, to bring us back to him.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:31-32)
Upon arriving in Siliguri, India we had lunch with some Asia’s Hope staff and local pastors. We learned the story of two children who were rescued the day before. One child who was abandoned and found eating with pigs in a pig pen. The other was a girl whose father was selling her for 50,000 Rupees (I was told this is considered a reasonable price in human trafficking. It translates to about $850 U.S. dollars), when one pastor connected to Asia’s Hope saw the transaction and intervened.
A day later three new children, abandoned and scared, were brought into the Asia’s Hope India family (the leaders found another girl who recently became a double orphan — both of her parents have died).
Whereas the world may not see much value in the life of an orphan child, the Asia’s Hope family values these children the way Jesus does — the very one who deemed them worth dying for. They are willing to sacrifice creature comforts, conveniences, space in their homes, resources, time, and energy to rescue and offer hope because when they look at people, even the ones the world says amount to little or nothing, and they see a treasure worth giving everything up for. What a sweet picture of the gospel.
Prayer: Lord, we confess that it’s easy to overlook people. It’s easy for us to forget the ways that you gave beyond reason and beyond measure to rescue us into your family by the cross of your Son. Help us to see people as you see them. Help us to treasure people the way you treasure us. Help us to love sacrificially the way you love. Amen.