What’s most important?

Peter was a playwright and Carol Ann a photographer, so I suppose it’s no surprise that their relationship was—shall we say—a little dramatic.

One New Years Eve they arrived at the annual party as a very-much-in-love couple, wearing coordinating attire and rarely leaving each other’s side. The next year, they arrived separately, awkwardly staying in different rooms except when forays to the beverage and food tables accidentally brought them into uncomfortable proximity. The following year, his entry on the communal “Resolutions” board read: “This year, I will not propose to anyone until I am sure she will say ‘Yes.’” She wrote “This year, I will not let anyone propose until I am sure I will say, ‘Yes.’”

But the long-awaited agreement brought new challenges. Playwrights and photographers are not usually wealthy. There was no money for an engagement ring. Indeed, there was no money for wedding rings. So Peter and Carol Ann gathered together all the gold jewelry they both owned and took it to a goldsmith, who melted their pasts into a new future, fashioning wedding rings from their hot, liquid history.

Can you imagine something that you’d give up all your gold for? All your riches? All your status?

The Bible tells a few stories about people who faced this decision.

  • All of Jesus’ first twelve followers abandoned their businesses to commit full time to learning from him.
  • A man named Zacchaeus, who had been in the habit of cheating people when he collected their taxes, met Jesus and decided to pay back four times what he’d stolen.
  • An unnamed woman honored Jesus by pouring an alabaster jar of perfume over his head. Many believe that she thereby sacrificed her dowry and her opportunity to marry.
  • A man named Saul, who had been one of the greatest Jewish teachers of his time (a student of the great rabbi Gamaliel) and one of the most dedicated to eradicating the Christian heresy, became a follower of Jesus himself. He gave up his great status in the Jewish community and became a loner, self-exiled from his friends and family for more than a decade. Only later did he become the Christian teacher we now know as the Apostle Paul.

The Bible describes the Kingdom of God as like a treasure in a field, so valuable that a person would sell everything they own to buy that field just to partake in the Kingdom.

What we find a little hard to understand—partly because of translations, partly because we live in a democracy—is that the Kingdom of God is not a place. It refers to God’s way of governing our lives. So what the Bible is telling us, and what these stories from Bible history show us, is that living in harmony with God is worth giving up everything we thought was important.

You’ll find more about living in harmony with God as you explore this web site. God bless you!

Copyright © Carlene Hill Byron, 2010

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