In Matthew 13, Jesus unloads several parables on his listeners. What struck me this morning were the two short parables in Matthew 13:44-46 – the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value:
“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 ESV)
In each of these short parables, like the others around it, focus on God’s kingdom – in the immediate context Jesus refers to himself as the manifestation of God’s kingdom work on Earth – the Messiah has come (Mark 1:15), it’s time to turn from your old life, believe, and live your new life as a follower of Christ.
Jesus says in these parables that understanding this, the gospel message is of great value – like a treasure hidden in a field or a precious pearl. Not that in both scenarios, there is action required of both men – they sold all they had. Why? In order to secure the item of great value.
These parables aren’t (necessarily) telling us that we need to sell everything we have – but the point is that we need to give up what is “valuable” to us in order to obtain something that is far better. My good friend Ally once said that it is a lie to say that following Jesus doesn’t cost you anything. It costs everything to follow him. Our whole lives need to be reoriented to follow and honor him. I can vividly recalled wrestling about this before fully trusting God – there were parts of my life I wanted to hold on to,but in the end it comes down to trusting God – in the sense that what he offers us in Jesus is far better.
It’s worth noting that the man who sells all he had in order to buy the field with the hidden treasure did so in “joy.” Jesus comes to bring us life — life to the FULL! John 10:10
Do we consider following Jesus that valuable? What’s it worth to you?