Good morning. You know, I prepared this morning’s devotion before last night’s news of our former President, Mr Nathan’s passing. I believe God has a word for us today.
So Pokemon Go is sweeping across not only our country but many other countries as well. In the Straits Times, it was reported that Mr Terence Ho was the first Singaporean to capture all 145 Pokemon, just 10 days after the game was released here. Enlisting help from his friends who were overseas to catch rare Pokemons that were only found in certain countries, spending S$150 in in-app purchases, spending up to 6 hours walking between 10-15km to find Pokemon, were some of the tactics he employed.
I don’t know whether you admire his tenacity or lament he spent his time on something you consider so trivial. But here’s the thing: did you know that Jesus spoke about Pokemon Go (sort of!)? It’s true! Since last Sunday when I was in church, I had been thinking about the connection between a parable that Jesus told and the Pokemon Go game.
Let me read it to you. It’s a very short parable, found in Matthew 13:44 Jesus said… “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
If you’ve played the Pokemon game, you would understand the thrill of discovering a rare Pokemon and then capturing it. In this parable, the man found treasure in a field. He cannot contain his excitement because the value of the treasure is immense. But he cannot just take it. That would be against the law. So what does he do? He sells all that he owns and buys the field in which the treasure is buried. Now he owns the legal rights to the land and therefore he owns the treasure as well. He was willing to give up everything he had because the treasure was so precious.
But of course Jesus wasn’t talking about riches, material wealth. Jesus said that the treasure refers to the kingdom of God. My friends, what comes to your mind when you think about the kingdom of God? What comes to your mind when you think about Christianity? Perhaps you think of rules. You have to give up a lot. You can’t do this or that. And it is true! But it is only half the picture. We do have to ‘sell’ or give up all we have, or our way of doing things. But we get the field. And we get the treasure. We get to be part of God’s kingdom. We inherit His love, His joy, His peace. We get to have a friendship with God. We get eternal life.
Pokemon achievements will come and go. Material wealth will fade, you cannot take it to the grave. Earthly accomplishments (success, status, power) will end. Even earthly relationships (families, friends, marriages) end at death. Recently, the wife of a friend of mine passed away. It was sudden. She had a massive stroke. And in a couple of days, she was gone. It was a great shock to everyone because she was still very young. Many tears were shed. But, there was also… celebration.
Justin, my friend and Yuka, his wife (a Japanese) are Christians. And their lives speak of their joy in the Lord. On her Facebook page, you read of testimonies upon testimonies of how Yuka’s joy in life was so infectious. Because she had found the treasure. She had discovered the kingdom of God. She had received Jesus. And I want to close this morning’s devotion by sharing with you the ending of Justin’s eulogy for his wife. He said this, “So Yuka, please wait for your Justin. I know that where you are now, the time passes very quickly, but where I am, the years are too long. The months are too long, one day, one second is too long. So wait for me, my darling, and I will come to you one day. I love you more than life, and I will always love you.”
This is the great hope of Christianity. This is the treasure of great worth in Christianity. The kingdom of God. My friends, are you part of God’s kingdom? You enter it through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. God still invites us all to be in His kingdom. [Let’s pray]