My Pastor preached a message today on honor. He reference a few passages and the television show Gold Rush. One of the passages of scripture was: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44 HCSB
He talked about how the man not only got the treasure when he bought the land, but also all the dirt that went with it. He related it back to our own lives and how we all have a treasure within, but we have to dig through all the dirt to get to the treasure that God already sees. He pointed out that often other people have a treasure to give us, but it is hard for us to receive their treasure because we know the dirt in thier lives. Our perception of them is tainted by what we know – the things they do, their past, or their struggles and allow that to keep us from receiving from them.
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines perceptions as a transitive verb meaning:
He talked about how it takes mountains of dirt being moved to find one ounce of gold, hence the reference to Gold Rush. He said people don’t go looking for the dirt, they go looking for the gold, the treasure. They put up with the dirt for the reward of gold in the end. Depending on the reported source, and likely also the land where it is being mined if you watch Gold Rush, it can take between two and ninty tons (1 ton is roughly 2,000 pounds) of dirt to mine one ounce of gold. That is a lot of dirt!
As I drove home from church I was just meditating on the message. Over the years, I have realized that God can and does speak to me through some of society’s “dirtiest” people. I have worked with the richest of people and the poorest. I have learned to receive His revelation regardless of where it appears to come from. I perceive, if He can speak through a donkey, there is probably not a person alive I can not receive something from.
Yet, when it comes to me, I often believe that my dirt is too much for Him to want to use me. I know this is a lie, and have been renewing my mind that God can and does use me. He might want to use me more, but I often let my own perception of my life keep me from stepping out in obedience.
He shared the story of the Samaritan woman at the well found in John 4 and how Jesus revealed her sin which then changed her perception of how she viewed him. She went from questioning how Jesus, a Jew, would even talk to her to perceiving that Jesus was a prophet.
As my pastor shared about how her changed perception had transformed her life, I couldn’t help but reflect on the bigger picture. Her perception transformed her life, but it also changed a city. She shared what happened to her and more people came to hear Jesus and also beleived. What if we realize that our correct perceptions have the ability to not only transform our lives, but the very cities we live in?
Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what He said. And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:39-42 HCSB
Maybe my dirt really isn’t the barrier, maybe it is just my perception of it. Jesus in a moment took this five-time divorced woman who was living with yet another, and removed so much dirt from her life that the treasure she found was enough to transform a city. She went from the ostracized woman at the well, to a spokeswoman for Christ who led many to believe. Her dirt wasn’t enough to stop her from sharing the treasure she found whe she got the right perception.
I look at my own life still, and know that there is still a lot of dirt in my life. I spent the weekend sifting through dirt in another area where I needed a perception change. So my thoughts turned to Joseph, the son of Jacob. He tends to be one of my go to people as the misunderstood younger sibling with big dreams. I find myself learning a lot from His life.
He also started out with a wrong perception. Joseph shared too soon what God had placed inside of him. He didn’t have the character yet for the vision within him. So he went from favored son with big dreams to the pit. Then he went to the palace but didn’t stay. From there he went to prison. His dirt was pretty deep, but God was using the time and process to refine Joseph. When it came time for God to fulfill the dream He had placed inside of Joseph, his character had caught up to the vision. Despite all the dirt that had gone down in the past, the transformation was of great magnitude. It was not only Joesph’s life that was transformed, but his brothers’ lives, his father’s life, his city and multiple countries were saved and tranformed by his perception.
Our perceptions may not save a country, but they certainly have the ablity to impact more than just our personal life. We all have influence, and that influence to others, influences more, and they influence more. It is when we have a right perception of our position and our purpose, and our passion is aligned with God’s that we will reach our cities, our states, our nation, and eventually the world as decribed in Acts:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 HCSB