Magic Number

stand-by-me-coin-flip

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief
comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.

Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn,
and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the
thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Luke 12:32-40

Treasure. We are told that what we treasurer in life reflects where our hearts are. A link exists between what
is important to us and what we seek to secure. To be a treasure it has to be secured, protected, and guarded from others. This is what makes a treasure treasured.
From the buried treasure of pirates to the forgotten liberated war loot, treasure has wet the appetite of seekers
and hunters looking for buried, hidden, or guarded treasure for thousands of years. No one seeks treasure that is not buried, hidden, or guarded. Is it really treasure if it is on the nightstand at home?
Where do you keep your treasures? What do you
treasure?

When I was a 10 or 11 my life was influenced by two films, The Goonies and Stand By Me. The Goonies is a film
about a group of down on their luck kids and their families. They are set to be kicked out of their homes because the
local country club is expanding. The kids find themselves on a quest to find One-Eyes Willie’s lost and hidden
treasure. They contend with the Fratelli’s. A family of hoodlums and scoundrels, with a hidden family secret of their own.
The film focuses on the relationships of the kids. Their bonds are strengthened and their personal identities remade in this quest. In the end they discover the lost treasure and are able to fend of the expansionist country club and keep their homes.

 
I desperately wanted to be a Goonie. I identified with them deeply. I imagined myself on a quest to save the family finances, discovering myself along the way. My first crush, Cindy, used to brag at recess that she was cast in The Goonies sequel. My love for her and her staring role remain unsatisfied.

 
Stand By Me is a film about another kind of treasure hunt. I did not really get this treasure hunt until later in life. At
the time I was captivated by all things 1950’s. I fantasized about growing up in the time of my father. Stand By Me is a story about four friends on a quest to find Ray Brower, a local teen that has gone missing.

 
The four friends Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern represent the best and worst of the awkward early-teen years. With
ground beef, beans, and Pez they set off to find Ray. They are unsure of themselves and of what they will do
when they find Ray. Walking on train tracks singing songs of Lollipops and Paladin, the young friends test their limits
and discover a deep bond. A bond that moves past nostalgia and in to the deepest parts of ones soul. These four young men discovered a treasure beyond measure. The treasure beyond description. They found compassion, heartache, and peace as they discovered the treasures of God in each other and in the quest they were on.

 
Treasure comes from the Greek word, θησαυρός (thesaurus), which literally means treasure store. Treasure is a concentration of lost or forgotten riches ready to be discovered. To be treasure something must be lost or forgotten and waiting to be discovered.

 
In today’s text we are being called to examine our lives and explore what treasures we are guarding. With our
hearts as the metric for what we hold dear. We hear of contrasting spaces. One is a treasure that may be
discovered and stolen by others. A treasure that has limitations. A treasure that binds us to is keeping. A
treasure that is really a prison.

 
This is contrasted with another type of treasure. A treasure of infinite possibility. A treasure that cannot fade,
tarnish, or depart. A treasure that cannot be stolen. A treasure that liberates us from this mortal coil and places
us at the doorsteps of an eternal Kingdom. These are the contrasting treasures of humanity and of God.

 
No matter which treasure we seek we are bound to it. We are bound to its protection. We are bound to its upkeep.
The treasure of humanity binds us to finitude, preventing us from receiving the reconciled, revealed glory of the
Kingdom of God. The treasure of God beacons us beyond our own frailty and welcomes us in to the eternal rafters of God’s Eternal Kingdom.

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