Do you like a bargain? Do you feel really good when you find one? Earlier this year, Libby and I were in Lytham. We passed a very up-market shop which sells women’s, or perhaps I should say ladies, clothes. It is a very expensive shop, and normally we always pass it, but this time I noticed that a sale had just started about an hour earlier. Libby decided it might be worth a look, so we went in. Libby found a tee shirt was reduced to a slightly less than extortionate price, but then I noticed a coat. It was a very special, very different raincoat, and it really was reduced – 80% off. Libby looked great in it, so we bought it. It was so different and such a bargain that Libby tells everyone about it.
Or perhaps you have been looking for something for a long time, and almost given up looking for it, then suddenly, there it is in front of you! Don’t you feel good! You get really excited and grab it, then you tell everyone about it!
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. (Matt 13:44, NLT)
When he tells us this parable, Jesus doesn’t tell us what the man did after he bought the field with the treasure still hidden in it. I am sure, though, that the man didn’t leave the treasure buried there. I am sure he didn’t take his friends round saying, “Come and see the wonderful field I have just bought!” I’m sure that if he led them to the field and said that he had just bought it and that there was something wonderful hidden in it, they would have been just a wee bit underwhelmed. I’m sure he would have dug the treasure up and let everyone see it. It would have been hard for him to contain his excitement!
What do we do with our faith, though? If we have found the Kingdom of Heaven by accepting Christ, then surely we have found the greatest treasure? Bearing in mind that we have paid nothing for it, surely we have found the greatest bargain? Do we jump and shout for joy? Do we tell everyone about it? Do we proudly carry it around to show it to people? Are we so overwhelmed with joy that people can see that there is something different about us? Has anyone ever said to you, “You look as if you have just won something”?
Or do we leave it buried? Do we hide it in case anyone finds out?
What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. (Ps 116:12-13, NLT)
God has done so much for us, and the Psalmist doesn’t include burying in the list of things he can offer the Lord. In fact, it is the opposite of burying which he proposes – lifting up. I think it is important that it is the “cup of salvation” which he talks about. Imagine a football team being presented with the cup – they hold it high and celebrate ecstatically! We are given a cup which will not be lost in next year’s tournament! We are given the cup of salvation! It’s ours FOREVER!
Lift it high! Show it off! Let everyone see it! Shout about it! Laugh with joy!
That is real praise!