HOARDING THE TREASURE
But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:15-16
When I’m sitting on a discovery of wealth, what do I do? Do I call and tell everyone I know about my find so that it can be shared? Or, do I save it all for myself?
That’s how Israel felt when the love and favor of God went outside their borders. They felt God’s love was theirs exclusively. They resented the fact that His grace and mercy knew no boundaries. Though they had been chosen to be God’s people, they were also commissioned, as far back as the early Old Testament, to be a nation of priests to those outside of Israel. “But you shall be called the priests of the Lord; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God.” Is. 61:6 No wonder Paul reminded the Roman church that he, as a Jew, was a priest to the Gentiles.
Love like the kind God gives is what my heart has always been seeking. Can’t I just bask in it and enjoy it without an obligation to make sure others find it too? God offers me a place to belong, the kind of place I’ve always been seeking. Can’t I make myself at home in His heart without sharing the space with others? The more I’ve been deprived here, the more I will wrap my arms tightly around Jesus and want exclusivity. But personal obsession is not the heart of the Gospel. I receive to give. I am healed to heal others. I am loved to love. And in the mystery of becoming a priest and pouring myself out for others, God pours out His favor on me and that feels exclusive.
Though I am a priest, my relationship with God is unique, as is yours. He relates to each of us in ways that no other person can fully understand. Just as you and I might know some of the same people, each of us has a relationship with them that is unique to our heart and to our personal history.
Jesus is mine and He is everyone’s. He loves me completely and He loves everyone. I can and should be a priest. There is no risk. I don’t need to hoard Him. It is safe for me to share the good news.
For any who feel a need to enjoy you exclusively, heal us. Amen