In most of the endeavors of life that I have highly valued over the years, I have been an “all in” sort of guy. And I sometimes struggle to understand why others aren’t that same way.
For me, this was especially true in the sports realm. I could never understand why someone would not look forward to the coming season for months in advance, love every moment of every practice, and then not see the game or race as the next most important thing to life and death itself. I was so “all in” that, in retrospect, it probably hurt me from going further in the game of baseball. Before the game even started, the fact that the other team showed up and thought they could beat us had me already wound tight in a furiously overly-competitive mindset. It certainly did not help me be precise in pitching and hitting the corners of the strike zone.
To some degree, I’ve also maintained an “all-in” disposition on many other of life’s endeavors like education, academic interests, and a host of other associations – including the church.
But there are a few things I’ve joined that just don’t hold quite the same value as to drive me toward being “all in.” Whereas I recognize the worthy value of a particular service club that I’ve been in for the past 20 years, I have never sought to be in the leadership circles of it. Other commitments have always pushed that level of participation well down the list of priorities of things accomplishable by one human being.
The idea of “going all in” is the theme of our week 4 focus for the summer series on the parables of Jesus – “Long Story Short.” And today we set up this main idea in preparation for Sunday’s sermon on Matthew 13:44-46 and the following Monday to Thursday questions and comments for further contemplation and discussion.
Like last week, we are going to talk about two parables that take up only the space of three total verses. We look now at the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price…
Matthew 13:44 – “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
The big question that is coming at all of us from this study will be to gage if we are indeed “all in” on our commitment and valuation of Christ’s Kingdom. Do we see it to be of inestimable value – to the extent that we give our all and everything to it? Are we willing to give up everything else for it?
You might say, “Hold it? Isn’t salvation the free gift of God? What’s all this commitment and paying the price stuff about? Isn’t it all about what I get from Him, because I really have nothing to give?”
It is true that, in terms of how we gain relationship with Christ, we give nothing to obtain it. Even so, the life that we live is one of identification with him in a world that often (and increasingly so) despises Christ and the truth of the gospel and God’s authority. It is not always glorious, and indeed, it is often very costly in varied ways.
So, for the next week, I challenge you to be “all in” and about asking if you are really “all in.”