Worthy of It All
by Mary Kate Hipp
The kingdom of heaven is worth everything. Worth every possession, every idol, every thought, ever fiber of your being. The kingdom of heaven is a priceless treasure. In the parables we encounter today we find one individual who stumbles upon a treasure in a field. Out of his joy, and likely the expense of this treasure, he sells every possession to own this treasure. He understood that this treasure that is the kingdom of heaven was worthy of it all. We then find the other individual on the hunt for a fine pearl. As pearls were difficult to find in the middle east, this "priceless pearl" was likely equivalent to a million dollars or so—everything this merchant owned. He deemed this single pearl worthy of it all.
As we are in the midst of the Lenten season, we are reminded of our frailty and banality. This sounds offensive, and rightly so. Because of our fallen state and separation from God, we are simply unworthy, nor is any other thing in our lives. We humbly recognize our sinfulness and grave need Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. In this time we surrender various things, thoughts, and/or actions as an act of worship to the One who is worthy. In the act of relinquishing our desires to Lord, we are refusing and denying our devotion to the easy pleasures of this world and proclaiming that He alone is worthy of our devotion. The parables of at the beginning of today's passage echo this very message: the kingdom of heaven is worth everything. The kingdom of heaven is worth every last penny...or shekel...or whatever biblical currency you prefer.
It is inconsistent not to have time or metaphorical space for God yet wish to spend eternity with Him. It is inconsistent to give more of our effort and worship to our work, our accomplishments, our social life, our Netflix obsession, etc. than to the One whom you hope to worship for eternity. If you find God not worthy of your everything now, then when?
Below is a liturgy from Every Moment Holy: Lenten Journal 2023.
Jesus, here I am again,
desiring a thing
that were I to indulge in it
would war against my own heart,
and the hearts of those I love.
O Christ, rather let my life be thine! Take my desires. Let them be subsumed in still greater desire for you, until there remains
no room for these lesser cravings.
In this moment I might choose to indulge a fleeting hunger,
or I might choose to love you more.
Faced with this temptation, I would rather choose you, Jesus –
but I am weak. So be my strength.
I am shadowed. Be my light. I am selfish. Unmake me now,
and refashion my desires according to the better designs of your love.
Given the choice of shame or glory, let me choose glory. Given the choice of this moment or eternity, let me choose in this moment what is eternal. Given the choice of this easy pleasure, or the harder road of the cross, give me grace to choose to follow you, knowing that there is nowhere apart from your presence where I might find the peace I long for, no lasting satisfaction apart from your reclamation of my heart.
Let me build, then, my King, a beautiful thing by long obedience, by the steady progression of small choices that laid end to end will become like the stones of a pleasing path stretching to eternity and unto your welcoming arms and unto the sound of your voice pronouncing the judgment: