Finding Treasure

Matthew 13:44-50
“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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In these three parables presented in Matthew 13, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a treasure hidden in a field, a merchant in search of fine pearls, and a net that is thrown into the sea. These three parables are about understanding the value of the kingdom of God.

The man who found the treasure in a field and the merchant who found one pearl of great value understood the importance of delayed gratification. They were able to see and determine the great value of their newfound treasure. And yet, their discovery did not lead to an instant payout. Their discovery led to their joy. The kingdom of God is not about winning the lottery, because it comes at a personal cost. The investment is good, but the payout requires some time and sacrifice. In both cases, they sell all they have, they let go of all their earthly possessions in order to purchase this great treasure.

When I read these parables, I see the example which Christ displayed for us. Jesus gave all that He had, including His earthly body, and willingly died on the cross, because He saw the great value of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus deemed you to be such a great treasure that He was willing to give everything He had. That is how precious you are. Following the Father is done out of joy because of the value of the kingdom of God. Jesus didn’t begrudgingly offer up His life as a sacrifice for many. He did it out of a heart of joy and love because He determined great value. Jesus is like the man who found a treasure in a field, or a valuable pearl, and He gave everything He had in joy because He knew the great value of His treasure.

Therefore, when we are given an opportunity to invest into the kingdom of God, we are called to do it the way Christ loved the church. We are called to sacrifice and love our neighbors not for the instant payout, but because God has called and led us to find this great treasure. And if our response is, “but that person is not worth that much of my sacrifice” then we fail to recognize how much God loves that person. The more we understand how much God loves His people, the more we are willing to sacrifice for them.

The third parable compares the kingdom of God to a net being thrown into the sea, and the contents of the net being sorted between good and bad. Then Jesus explains that this parable in particular is a parable for the end of the age. The contents allowed into the kingdom of God are only good, and evil will be cast out. Jesus is explaining that the purity and the perfection of the kingdom of God are guaranteed. There is no blemish or stain that is allowed in the kingdom of God. There is no possibility of any brokenness or rebellion in His kingdom. It truly is the most valuable treasure one could find, and we have been invited to participate in it.  

If you are thinking to yourself, “But what if I am one of the bad fish caught in the net?” The answer is… you are a bad fish. There was only one who can be called good, and when the time for sorting comes, it is only Jesus who is worthy to not be cast out into the abyss. But Jesus chose you and offered His life for you as a sacrifice. So that when the time for sorting comes, you are deemed righteous not by your deeds (because those are worthless) but through Christ’s deeds. Knowing that we have been granted this grace, we are called to go out and do the same.

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