I often think that I live in a place where there has to be something valuable hidden in the ground. My house sits on the high ground that overlooks a crossroads intersection that has been there for centuries, one road of which goes to the #4 dam on the Potomac River and C&O Canal. Certainly the Union Army camped here during the Civil War. Someday I’m going to dig up a treasure!
Today we read a parable that Jesus told about a fellow who did just that …
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
So what would you do in ancient times if you possessed a lot of gold or currency or items of great value? Where would you put it – that is, if you’re not royalty with a palace and royal guards?
There is no local bank to take it to deposit in a vault and safe deposit box. You can’t buy an iron safe with a combination lock. No, you have to be creative in hiding things.
The next problem is who do you trust to tell about your secret place? A spouse, a child? Maybe you don’t get around to doing that, and BOOM – you’re dead! The treasure is lost in the ground where you buried it, and it may be generations later, if ever, that someone stumbles upon it.
So that is the set-up assumed in the parable. Presumably the treasure is not that of the current landowner, or else that person would remove the treasure before selling and turning over the deed to the property. The guy who stumbles across the treasure knows that to fully possess it, he must buy the land. And buying the land is going to take everything he currently owns. The only way it works is if he goes “all in” when buying. Holding back at all will cost him the greatest treasure he could ever imagine.
As I mentioned on Sunday, when interpreting parables, we should not try to make every last detail work out and have a one-to-one meaning with some teaching. The purpose of a parable was to rather communicate one or more big ideas by the illustration.
Here is the big idea: The Kingdom of God – and your connection with it – is of such inestimable value, that it is actually worth you giving up everything for it.
Few of us will be called upon to give up everything for the kingdom – though around the world even today, there will be some who will be killed for their Christian faith – but all of us can likely give up more and move more into the “all in” category.
In fact, some of us need to take several big steps – because we’re frankly too much on the edges of properly valuing our faith. God is good to have when special critical needs arise or when there is nothing more interesting to take us away from giving attention the God and the church community. But is the Lord really EVERYTHING to you? Is he your greatest possession and treasure? Would you be willing to give up everything you own?
You can dig up the greatest treasure ever. In fact, if you have come to know and trust in Christ, that is exactly what has happened in your life. And for many of you, you sort of stumbled upon it. It only looks like you found it, when in fact, it found you.
So value it for what it is, and let the value of it guide all the priorities and decisions of your life.