Provocations

Kierkegaard made an art of writing short provocative parables designed to shake us out of our comfort zone. He is often quoted, but not much read. To download a book for free visit Plough Books. From him you will gain the insight that,

There are people who handle the ideas they pick up from oth­ers so frivolously and disgracefully that they ought to be pros­ecuted for illegal exchange in lost and found property.

And so in the fear of prosecution I will share the words of others on two of Jesus’ parables; the treasure found in the field, reburied, everything sold, and the field scurrilously bought to obtain the treasure and the pearl of great price, which the merchant sold everything to obtain. (Matthew 13:44-46)

Nouwen notes in The Inner Voice of Love that having found the treasure and experienced its value you have to leave it and sell everything to obtain it;

You can only seek God when you have already found God. The desire for God’s unconditional love is the fruit of having been touched by that love.

Bonhoffer writes,

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods.

Ortiz in his book Disciple combines this teaching with Matthew 16:24-25 to teach that we get to keep everything but now it is radically under the ownership of Christ.

Rollins in the Orthodox Heretic says that Kierkegaart reflected that if you have sold everything to obtain the treasure you now have nothing, as the pearl only has value if you sell it, the one thing you are bound not to do. Having obtained the pearl you are now materially destitute whilst possessing something really precious.

Sometimes we run away from simple meaning and construct a wall between us and the message…

Whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:25)

Kierkegaard writes;

All our Bible learning has become nothing but a fortress of excuses and escapes. When it comes to existence, to obedience there is always something else we have to first take care of. We live under the illusion that we must first have the interpretation right or the
belief in perfect form before we can begin to live – that is, we never get around to doing what the Word says.

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