"Things Are Not Peachy!"

I love this time of the year! It is "peach season" in Illinois! I grew up with peaches from Centralia and Kell. Each August, Mom would turn these into cobblers, jars of freezer jam, and then would save back sliced peaches for the morning cereal, afternoon snacks and to accent bowls of homemade ice-cream while we listened to baseball games on the radio! I am in "peach heaven" this time of year! I'm thinking and dreaming peaches! Why, I'm even punctuating the comments of family and friends with sayings like, "That's peachy!" and even throwing in the superlative for emphasis on occasions, "That's peachy keen!" Yes, it's true, I'm crazy about the peach whatever the variety: yellow, white, freestone or cling! It is one of my favorite fruit!
Oh! For the Love of Peach! 😋

 

The family "love affair" with peaches continued during our fifteen-year sojourn in Texas. Our middle son was born in the "Peach Capital of Texas" - Weatherford! Each year Parker County peaches are put on display and for sale in this historic county seat town of 25,000 just west of Fort Worth. We lived about 25 minutes away in Granbury and would join hundreds of peach aficionados throughout Texas on a trek to Weatherford for the annual Peach Festival usually around the second Saturday of July. It is a celebrative occasion to taste the season's best and then cart home boxes of this fragrant, juicy and delectable fruit for processing in pies, cobblers, jams and preserves. 

We always knew that Israel was a "land flowing with milk and honey" (Numbers 14:8), but today it has truly become "the breadbasket of the middle east" through the innovation of drip irrigation. When I went to Israel in 2011, I was surprised at how this arid and dry climate with frequent droughts (like Texas!) and sandy soil could be transformed into such beautiful and productive farms that provide 95% of what is needed for domestic consumption.  Israel is teeming with rich farmland growing grains, vegetables and fruits of every variety. And yes, they have peaches in the Holy Land! 

I wonder if fruit had been as common as it is in Israel today, if Jesus would have had a parable story about peaches like He did for so many other everyday things from the agrarian-based culture of that time. While it would be trite of me to say that the peach could be used to illustrate the value and worth of the kingdom of God, I do know of two similar parables Jesus told to illustrate what He was passionate about - His ultimate "reign and rule." When you read the stories of a hidden treasure and a pearl of great value (Matthew 13:44-46) you will find that they are just as intriguing as they difficult to interpret. Dr. Craig Blomberg, professor of New Testament studies at Denver Seminary, has summarized the parables' message in this succinct statement, "The kingdom of God is so valuable that it is worth anything to gain it" (Interpreting the Parables, p.279).

When I read these two parables, I am struck with how pointed they are in simply stating the surpassing worth of God's kingdom rule over human hearts and the world at large. To understand these parables is to further appreciate why Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer to pray this way, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:9-10 NKJV). To pray that prayer expecting and inviting God to rule over our hearts and everything in our lives is to affirm the surpassing worth of God's involvement in our lives.

Many would say things are not that "peachy" in our country today! There are divisions and differences. We hear some affirming and challenging from the preamble to our constitution, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union..." I think that if a more complete and perfect union is the goal, then it cannot be realized apart from God's people praying for God's kingdom to rule and be the dominant governing principle over individual hearts and societal concerns. 

When God's will becomes the essential yearning of our hearts, and when we order our values and priorities so that the kingdom becomes "so valuable to us that it is worth anything to gain it", then something more complete, precious, surpassing, just, and lasting can become a reality. Let's pray and mean it, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com







Comments

  1. Nice. I am going to share your closing thoughts before we close tonight's service in prayer.

    ReplyDelete

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