The Kingdom of God is an Immeasurable Treasure
“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.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)
Have you ever had the fantasy of finding hidden treasure? Just finding a $20 bill in an old pants pocket will make our day. What about a real treasure? Finding treasure in a field was not unheard of in the first century. They didn’t have safety deposit boxes or home safes. So what do you do with valuables when the walls of your house are made of dirt? People would bury and hide valuables in their fields.
This man isn’t looking for treasure. Somehow he happens to find it. Maybe a little piece of gold was sticking up through the dirt. He uncovers it. He can’t believe it! He covers it up again and then goes and sells everything he has and buys the field.
Notice his emotion. “Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has.” (Verse 44) We typically aren’t joyful when we have to fire-sale all our possessions. He’s not joyful to own the field itself. He’s joyful because of the treasure that is in the field. Now it’s his. Yes, it cost him everything, but his gain is far greater than his loss. The kingdom of God is like hidden treasure.
And it’s also like precious jewelry. Ladies, do I have your attention?
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Verses 45-46)
This parable is different in that the merchant is actively seeking fine pearls. He’s looking everywhere for pearls. One day he came across one pearl that was so perfect and beautiful that he determined he had to have it. So he sold all he had and bought the one pearl.
The first man sold everything he had and the treasure was his gain. The second man sold all he had and the privilege of possessing the pearl was his reward. Both of these parables get at the same truth. Both treasures cost them everything they had. Why would they willingly lose everything? Because the value of what they gained was far greater.
The kingdom of God is an eternal treasure. It’s a pearl of infinite price. Having the kingdom of God is worth losing everything you own and even your life. How? Why?
If you have the kingdom of God, you “own/have”
- Divine forgiveness of your sins (Acts 3:19)
- Forever reconciliation with a holy God (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
- Almighty God as your Father (and all his promises apply to you) (Romans 8:15)
- God’s presence in your life – indwelling Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27)
- Eternal life in a resurrected/perfect body on the new Earth (1 Corinthians 15)
- Jesus as King forever (Revelation 17:14)
- Much, much more
What you DON’T have anymore
- Sin/guilt/internal spiritual dissonance (Romans 7:13ff.)
- Emptiness of life apart from your Creator (Ecclesiastes)
- Dread of death/hopelessness (Hebrews 2:14-15)
- Eternal conscious punishment in hell (Revelation 21:8)
- Much, much more
What would you willingly give up to NOT have these be true for you anymore? When we understand that the kingdom is not simply the losing of what we don’t want but the gaining of everything we could ever want, what could we be but filled with joy?
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7–8)
How many people are there who decide against faith in Jesus because they think they are losing something? Losing their freedom. Losing their secret sin. Losing their reputation with others. Losing their family’s respect. Becoming a Christian can seem like a lot of losing.
Why would you do it? Why pledge allegiance to Jesus as your Savior and King? Because the gain of the kingdom of God so far outweighs any loss that the only appropriate response to the possibility is joy. Real, true, lasting eternal joy.
Allow me to give you a personal story that reflects the joy of gaining something valuable. My father-in-law’s career was in baseball. In 1985 he was a scout with the Royals organization when they won the World Series. He got a World Series ring with his name on it. It’s a fancy ring as World Series rings are. Obviously, it is a highly valued item. He wore it all the time. He wore it when he walked Jennifer down the aisle. About a year ago, he lost it. My in-laws looked everywhere and could not find it. They finally resigned themselves to never finding it again. It was a real disappointment.
My brother-in-law Jim was especially sympathetic and decided to try and do something about it. He examined family pictures from last fall around the time they lost it. He discovered that one day at a public park in Kansas City the ring is on Dad’s hand in one picture and not on the next. He thinks, I wonder if the ring is somewhere at that park? So this past June, eight months later, he bought a metal detector, went to the public park, and carefully scanned the ground. He goes over the ground. He hears lots of beeps. On one particular beep he digs down, and guess what he finds?
What are the chances? So we kept it a secret for a few weeks. In July we had a surprise birthday party for my father-in-law’s 70th birthday. And one of his presents was that ring. What do you call it when he opened the box? Joy.
To be a Christian is like finding a treasure in a field, only much better. In the kingdom of God, Jesus is the pearl we give anything to possess. Jesus is hidden treasure we sell everything to own. And having Jesus is our joy. Having him forever is better than silver or gold, fame and fortune, power, health, or anything else. If Jesus is your King, then Jesus is your joy and treasure forever.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2016 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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