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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, March 13

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
—Matthew 13:45-46

It's an old story, but it bears repeating as we  move through Lent  to Holy Week.

There was a rich man who dreamed that if he went outside the city he would find a poor man under a mango tree who would give him a great treasure. Early next morning, he drove out to the mango tree. Sure enough there was a poor man asleep there. He roused the sleeping man and told him of the dream.

The poor man yawned and stretched in a very relaxed way. He then reached into his backpack and said, "Maybe this is what you are looking for; I found it a few days ago in the forest." 

He presented the biggest diamond that the rich man had ever seen. "How much? How much?" the rich man asked excitedly. "Oh, if you think it will make you happy just take it," answered the other and he rolled over to go back to sleep.

The rich man sang his way back to town and laughed at the poor idiot who would give away a diamond worth millions without asking even for a cent. But that night he couldn't sleep. And the next night he could not sleep. On the third morning he drove back to the poor man who was still sleeping happily under the mango three and he said, "Please, take back the diamond, and give me your real treasure."

"What is that?" asked the poor man in surprise. "Your real treasure" answered the rich man, "is the freedom that enabled you to give away the diamond!"

It seems that the only way we discover God in things is when we let go of them. That old Lenten practice—self-denial—is the tool that helps us practice the journey of freedom from our attachments.

Give us the freedom to let go of the things that are of lesser value in order to embrace and hold fast to that which is priceless, beginning with your loving concern for all humanity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.