We must understand what the Kingdom of God is about if we are to be Kingdom-people. Christ's parables draw our attention to the principles of the Kingdom.
Some boys were constructing a shanty on the flats of the old Mystic River in Massachusetts about fifty years ago. As they dug down into the earth they hit a jar containing about $300 in old silver coins. The dates of the coins ranged from 1717 to 1838. There were coins of England, France, Greece, Spain, all of the South American countries and also American pieces. The discovery brought out an army of men who dug up the whole river bank for lost treasures, and found an additional $35 in coins. If people would only be as concerned in looking for the hidden treasures of the Kingdom of heaven!
We need to seek God in the sacrifice of the will. The Lord's Prayer reveals that the Kingdom of God is a state in which God's will is perfectly done as it is in heaven. To accept that sacrificial will means I must give up certain aims and ambitions, abandon certain habits, accept a discipline and a self-denial which do not come easily. It is taking up the cross and following by seeking. Once sought we find!
The dragnet, the sagene, was a square net with cords at each corner, and weighted so that, at rest, it hung upright in the water. Then the boat began to move and the net was drawn into a shape similar to an ice cream cone; into the cone-shaped net all types and sizes, of fish were swept. The net was then drawn to land, and the fishermen separated the usable from the non-usable.
This parable parallels the Kingdom's activity. One writer emphasized that the dragnet is the total impact of the Kingdom in society, in the world, influencing people for God.
It also reinforces the fact that there is coming a day when, as the old song says, people "will be parted right and left." The song asks, "Are you ready for that day to come?"
The disciples came to Christ with their own ideas, preconceived notions of religion, philosophies and theology; Jesus needed to "retool" their concepts.
Those of us who live in the industrialized, auto-laden North understand that very well. When a product has been redesigned on the drawing boards in an office, it must be translated and put into shape at the assembly line. The machines that assemble the pieces being redesigned must themselves undergo a change in order for the product to be what the designer imagined.
When we come to Jesus He is not asking us to give up all our talents, abilities, and gifts of a lifetime. He is not suggesting we give up all our desires or intentions, our goals and aims. What Jesus demands is a "retooling." They are no longer "my" aims, goals, desires, intents, but His! He wants to make them usable for the Kingdom - and now so do I!
We can say with the hymn, "Take my life and let it be wholly consecrated Lord to Thee."
I want to live by the Kingdom principles. Don't you?
(DGK - copied from PREACHING pg. 43-44, July-August 1987)