Worth the effort

Years ago, Bill asked me to come over and see his new truck. When I got there, it was obvious why he didn’t drive it over.

It was this rusty old Chevy pickup from the 50’s. It was in bad shape. Not so much a barn find. More of a barn never mind.

It looked familiar, so I asked where he got it. Turns out it was from a salvage yard I drove past on my way to work. I had seen that truck lots of times and had never given it a second thought. It was just part of the background.

I wished him luck and didn’t think about it again. Until he asked me to come see his new truck a year or so later.

When I got there, a midnight blue 1950 Chevrolet 3100 pickup truck was sitting in his driveway. Looking for all the world like it had just driven off the showroom floor.

He had put countless hours into what I had written off as not worth the bother. He ended up with something that looked amazing. And that nearly doubled the money he had put into it, when he sold it later that year.

If you know what something really is, then it’s worth all the effort. Because the payoff will be amazing.

It’s what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel. With the treasure found in the field, with the pearl of great price.

It’s the same thing with the faith. If we don’t know what it really is, it’s easy to pass by without giving it a second thought. For it to become part of the background.

But that’s the thing about the faith. When you realize what it really is, you’ll want to put in the effort. Because the payoff will be amazing.

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That moment.

I like going to yard sales and second-hand stores.  Sometimes I find cool old things for not much.   And I always get ideas for crafts and projects. 

I know it’s silly, but part of me hopes for that once-in-a-lifetime find in all the clutter.  A letter signed by Lincoln, tucked away in an old book.  An unknown Van Gogh for next to nothing. 

I would love to have that moment.  The thrill of discovering the difference between what something seems to be and what it really is.  And still being able to get it, without having to pay what it’s really worth. 

Which is the point of Sunday’s Gospel. 

It’s all about that moment.  Except the difference between what it seems to be and what it really is?  It’s more than we can imagine. 

Readings for Sunday

The thing that is worth everything

The other short parable for Sunday is the hidden treasure.  Paired with the pearl of great price, both point to the same things - recognizing the value of the discovery and the response of the one who discovers it.  But where the pearl of great price has a simple image, the parable of the hidden treasure offers that image with something more – actually two somethings more.

The price.  This treasure is so valuable that once you know its worth, you would sell everything you have to buy it. 

The joy.  Once you know what you have…the sheer joy of that realization. 

If the pearl of great price reminds us of American Pickers, the hidden treasure feels like the joyful discoveries of Antiques Roadshow.  And that’s the image that points to the meaning of the parable of the hidden treasure – the joy of discovering the thing that is worth everything. 

More on Sunday’s Gospel tomorrow.

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