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" No Matter the Cost," Matthew 13: 31-33; 44-52 (Key verses 44-46), Pastor Richard A Strode

In our interconnected world one essential virtue that is most valued in relationships is total loyalty to a person or a cause. One may buy commitment but money alone will never buy loyalty as someone can always offer more money. In the parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Valuable Pearl (Matthew 13: 44-46) Jesus teaches His disciples what it means to live as faithful, loyal citizens of the kingdom of Heaven. This life lesson is also applicable in our daily faith walk. First, we must be willing to "Let It Go," that is to value our relationship with the Lord over our possessions, position, dreams and people. Our emotional attachment to those things can make us prize the blessing over the One who blesses. We must demonstrate by our actions that our commitment is " All-in," just like Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Issac. When we see ourselves in these parables, we are unable to see what we could be but God saw a hidden treasure (lost souls) which the world ignored. God's most prized possession was His Only Son which was the redemption price for retrieving us from the prison of sin. Jesus left the glories of Heaven to pay the sin penalty for our lost souls so that we could have the opportunity to become His brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God. What worldly attachments we give up to maintain our Christianity, the Lord replaces those things with something immeasurably better--eternal life with God.

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