Lenten reflection: March 13th, 2019.
Welcome to our second reflection for Lent 2019. Each Wednesday we are Reading, Thinking, and Praying.
Lent is a beautiful season of solemn preparation for Easter. We begin week two leading up to Easter with another biblical reflection on The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl to inspire your own life, and fuel prayers for various people groups in Southeast Asia. Our FEBC focus this Lent is on Persecuted Minorities in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Southern China. Peoples to whom we broadcast the good news of Jesus.
Read: Matthew 13:44-46
13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Think: “Like” the Kingdom of God.
When the English translations say “the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field” it does not mean that it is the treasure that is like the kingdom of heaven! It means that the whole situation of the treasure, and the field and the person finding the treasure, and the excitement, and the joy, and the selling everything they own, and the buying of the treasure-containing field, – ALL of this situation is a little bit like discovering the kingdom of heaven.
No single item can really truly be “like” the kingdom of God, so Jesus is painting a bigger picture than simply a box of glowing gold coins or an expensive pearl. The whole situation of the person finding and being overjoyed and then making a huge life-change, illustrates the key point of the parable: The kingdom of heaven is the most wonderful and valuable thing we can ever know! It is supremely valuable and worth risking and selling EVERYTHING we own, to have it. Everything we value pales in comparison to the worth of Jesus in our lives.
We are helped to this understanding because the kingdom of heaven could not be “like a merchant looking for fine pearls.” Clearly a merchant on a search for valuables is not like the kingdom of heaven. So once again, it is the situation of the pearl merchant finding, valuing, and gaining the valuable pearl, which resembles what it is like to find and follow Jesus. More on that point on another Wednesday.
People need to discover the most priceless relationship in all the universe – knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. The kingdom of heaven is not an expensive trinket or an economic advantage. It is the most wonderful relationship of eternally supreme value, and everyone on earth deserves a chance to hear this, and “discover” it for themselves. So we broadcast the good news everywhere to everyone. In as many languages as we can afford and organise. Like to the Hmong Daw of Southeast Asia…
Pray: for the Hmong Daw people of Southeast Asia.
Also known as the White Miao the Hmong Daw are named because of the traditional colour of the women’s skirts. Once again they are scattered across the region because of persecution and war. For centuries the Hmong Daw were animists living in fear of evil spirits. In the mid 1950s whole villages in Laos accepted Christ after hearing the gospel on FEBC radio. Then again in 1993 in Thailand a senior Daw man heard the gospel in his own language on the radio, FEBC broadcasting from the Philippines. Soon thousands, and eventually several hundred thousand Hmong Daw turned to Christ as saviour and Lord! Towns and villages en mass reported receiving a “new heart.”
Because of the national boarders, different laws, and plain old fashioned discrimination, many Hmong Daw in the region are still separated from the body of Christ and in need of a personal experience of God. Radio is still a very normal way of staying informed for many remote peoples in Southeast Asia. Please pray that:
- Hmong Daw find FEBC broadcasts on the radio, that they stumble across it on the dial, or are introduced by a neighbour;
- people are filled with joy and courage to turn away from old ancestral fears, and experience the love of God the Father;
- the distribution of MP3 players and radios will reach every community and will be unhindered by government officials and territorial restrictions;
- shortwave signals will be loud and clear;
- programmers will tell the stories of the Bible with great creativity and love, and that many more will hear and believe.
- praise God that hundreds of thousands have become followers of Jesus, and in many provinces churches exist and grow thanks to the discipleship programmes available on the radio.
To donate for broadcasts to Persecuted Minorities in Southeast Asia and help reveal hidden treasure, please click the link below.
Thanks and God bless, see you next Wednesday.