I’m not a pastor. I’m just in seminary, and an intern at a church, and sometimes I say things in worship. I give prayers, or call people to the tithe. I recess down the aisle with the pastors as the choir sings a short recessional.
On a morning like today, having come in from a road trip at 1:45AM the night before, fatigue undermines all attempts to build an internal labyrinth of pretense. There was nothing my mind could do to prevent the reality of my inadequacy, for even these simple responsibilities. Who am I to stand in front of the people of God and, even though merely having the status of a young initiate learning the ropes, stand in a position of authority?
If they but knew the dark recesses of my soul.
And I look across the room and I see women and men much holier than I. Much wiser. Much more gracious. More prayerful.
I stand at the lectern. I see Christ – the light plays against the colors of his robe in the stained glass. He stands in power, and authority, the Holy and Righteous one.
Who am I?
I begin to give the meditation on tithing that I had prepared. I tell the funny story that I was scared would fall flat.
And I reference the line of Scripture in the liturgy today for the offering:
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” -Deuteronomy 7:6
We are treasured. I am treasured.
Consider the parable of the buried treasure in Matthew 13 – the man who finds the hidden treasure gives everything away to keep what he has found – the Kingdom of heaven.
This is certainly a parable to us. But maybe it is a parable about us as well. We are a hidden treasure, hidden behind a miry bog of sin and death and corruption. And Jesus Christ gives away everything He could claim as His own, to possess this treasure. He considered us worth it all, a treasure He wanted to possess as His own and give to His Father as a worthy offering.
I am a treasure. He says I am, to Him, worth losing everything.
The gold inside of me is certainly nothing I can boast in, or claim as my own. My sins, my inadequacies, my repeated failures, my unbroken habits, are real. They possess my soul. But these are not the sum total of all that I am. They are not what He has said I am. And His word is reality. It is authority. It creates something out of nothing. It makes what is not, to be. I am His treasure, because He says so by the power of His Word.
How can I not treasure Him in return? How can I not treasure the One who has treasured me so deeply and so truly; so completely?
I have nothing of my own to give, nothing to claim, nothing worthwhile to give.
Except that I am His treasure. He calls me His treasure.
Dig up the gold out of the pit of sin.
Journey into the deep, into the pit of the monsters of chaos and corruption,
slip past their traps and defeat their schemes,
that I might rise out of the pit, with You.
Remind me on the days that I feel worthless, nothing, that I am full of sweet and beautiful treasure, because
You have said it is so.
In Your holy sanctuary I will declare Your Word.
I will recount the deeds of the Lord
(photo credit Jonty on Flickr)