What Are the Treasures of the Church?

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An Archbishop was given an ultimatum by the Huns who surrounded his cathedral. “You have 24 hours to bring your wealth to these steps”, the war-leader declared. The next morning the Archbishop came out leading the poor, the blind, the lame, and the lunatics. “Where is your treasure? Why have you brought out these, people?” The Archbishop calmly replied, “These are the treasures of the Church— these who are weak are our valuables. They make us rich.”

As Christians often our theology tells us that mental illness: ADHD,  depression, and bipolar disorder have no place in the believer’s life. Physical illnesses like fibromyalgia, migraines, diabetes and epilepsy are denied. So we hide, sneaking into our sessions with our therapists, and our doctors appointments. We change the subject to minimize our exposure to direct questions. The pressure to hide is very strong.

But I would suggest to you that it is perhaps we who are closest to the Kingdom of God. It is far easier for us to approach the Father, in our brokenness, humility, and lostness, than whole people can. We understand we have needs; a sound mind, a healthy body and we know it. We have no illusions of wellness, nothing can convince us that we are well. We are not. We are broken and only our loving creator can mend us.

You might say that the Church needs us.

But I am afraid the the Western Church no longer sees its “treasures” like it should. In our pride and self-centeredness we have operated our churches like successful businesses. We value giftedness more than weakness. We definitely have no room for the desperately sick or weak. Maybe it’s time for the Church to begin to act like Jesus?

Church isn’t where you meet. Church isn’t a building. Church is what you do. Church should be a verb.  Church is who you are. Church is the human out-working of the person of Jesus Christ. 

Let’s not go to Church, let’s be the Church.

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Very Close to the Kingdom

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Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, “There is one more thing you need to do. Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”  Mark 10:21

We must understand exactly how deeply that Jesus Christ loves us.  There is no diminishment, no reluctance in how He He handles each of us.  But in Mark 10 we see that there was a man whom Jesus picked out.  He was special because of the special work that was being done in him.

This man in particular became the focus of His concentrated love.  It drills into his heart with an intensity, a laser beam of happy holiness that penetrated and exploded inside.  However– the love of Jesus wants this man to take things deeper.  It’s funny but God loves us so much, that He refuses to leave us alone.

Obedience to Jesus becomes the step in which this man must take.  He hears the words, and evaluates the next step for himself.  Jesus tells him, that he must sell everything, and he must take every penny and give it to the poor.  Perhaps you think there should be gradients in grace?  But there are none.  We must make the stand, alone.

He was very sad to hear Jesus say this, and he left sorrowfully, because he was rich. Mark 10:22

For me, there is a disconnect someplace.  I think he was so close, and that he had a whole lot working for him.  And he turns away, unable, or unwilling to do was Jesus had ordered.  This young man was not far from the Kingdom of God– so close, and yet so far.

There was pain in his heart.  But he knew what he was doing.  The unique love that Jesus had for him should’ve acted as an anesthetic, and eased him through this pain of letting loose of his possessions, his credit, his wealth.  The love of God must always take us to a place far beyond ourself.

It is necessary for us to know exactly how deeply Jesus loves us.  That love is the only thing that will enable us to step out of our closest attachments.  His love is necessary for us to accept the things that are closest to our hearts that we must sacrifice.  Perhaps that is the word that sums all of this up–sacrifice. We must give up the things which are closest to us.  Only this can touch us where we are most tenderest.

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ybic, Bryan

kyrie elesion.