What’s the goal here?
“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.”— Matthew 13:44 (ESV)
My name is Joshua Derek Bethay and I named this idea, or blog, Thirteen44 (or XIII XLIV) in light of Matthew 13:44. This text, for the past year, has been my heart’s cry; that I would consider the kingdom of heaven, Christ, and his gospel in such a manner that I would count it pure, unadulterated joy to give up everything in life for it.
As I write this, I am twenty-one, having graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University this past April of 2019. For the past sixteen years I have called New Haven, Indiana my home as I’ve grown in Christ specifically through the mentorship and friendship of Adam Smith, Ryan Chell, Brandon Dyben, and Kyle Zimmerman. Four men who I consider to be men after the Lord’s own heart, and four men whom I am eternally grateful for and indebted to. During my three years at Indiana Wesleyan, the Lord brought forth a best friend and two lifelong professors in the likes of AJ Wilk, Dr. Jonathan Morgan, and Dr. Edward Shigley. Now, as of three weeks ago (at the time of writing this), I have moved to Omaha, Nebraska to begin as a Resident at Emmaus Bible Church learning and serving under the elders (or pastors) here. My desire, Lord willing, is to live a life given to sharing the gospel among the nearly three billion people who have no access to it as a long-term missionary overseas. To, as Paul says, “preach the gospel where Christ has not been named.”
So why a blog?
Well, the answer is multifaceted. For one, I need a space to simply express and organize my thoughts, specifically those relating to Christ, theology, the church, missions, our culture, discipleship, and a concoction of the these. Perhaps as an overall goal, I hope and pray that as I ‘vomit’ my thoughts and head space upon these topics, I do so in such a manner that spurs the reader(s) to adopt a Matthew 13:44 attitude. Specifically, my desire is that as I publicly process and voice my thoughts on Christ and his gospel in light of several topics, those reading would be stirred to truly count it joy to sell all they have in this fleeting life to have Christ. To grow in such a zeal for the Lord that, as Paul personifies in Philippians 3, we would together count all things as loss, as rubbish, and as garbage, in light of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. That we would increase in intimate knowledge of the unmatched beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Having been found in him, not possessing a righteousness of our own that comes from works, but that which comes through faith in Christ. That we who were once dead in our sins and trespasses have been made alive by the sovereign, immutable grace of God in Christ through faith – and that we would never grow numb to the gravity of this gospel as we unceasingly worship the Lord in every facet of our lives in light of it.
Perhaps David Platt summed up my motivation best when he stated that, “this gospel is too good, and this God is too great, not to share.”
So it is my prayer that as we grow in perceiving the beauty of Christ and his gospel in such a manner that we surrender all in joy with no reservation, that we would simultaneously grow in a joy to proclaim this beautiful gospel to those who do not know it.
For only in sharing the gospel do we show how great a treasure it truly is to us.