“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.”
I wonder how it is that we see the kingdom of heaven here in 2017. Perhaps even today? Do I see it as a treasure of greatest price, worth forsaking all else, or a nice shiny ornament to add to my already adorned life? This kingdom of God, where His perfect worship and reign are both here and not yet in it’s fullness?
These are pretty accessible parables, right? They don’t require much historical context. They don’t leave us scratching our heads. They simply paint a few broad brush-strokes to ask the rhetorical question, “How precious is the kingdom of God to me?”
I can easily and pridefully insert myself to the parable with a resounding “Yes! I would give up everything for this kingdom!” We would all likely know which box to check if asked “Which is better: Jesus or the world?”
I wonder if my life really matches up to that declaration, and with the intricacies of how my daily life has played out recently, I’m not so sure; especially when I think about the manner in which the first man sells all that he owns… “in his joy”.
Truth be told, I’m tired, spread thin, and anxious right now. The feeling of hidden treasure, of the fine pearl of great value – that’s not my waking thought most days. Yet it’s true! This prize of being a daughter of the kingdom, oh God, let it not be so familiar that I’m lulled to a spiritual sleep.
Do I choose an extra nine minutes of snooze over the treasure of time with Jesus? Flip through a few instagram updates while I’m feeding a baby or read through a Psalm? Run to prayer with God Almighty first or shoot out a rescue flare text message to my husband or gal pals and then pray afterward?
Matthew Henry says in his commentary of these parables, “All the children of men are busy, seeking goodly pearls: one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but the most are imposed upon, and take up with counterfeits for pearls.”
We are made to worship something, to dig for it and hold it high in our hearts. God crafted our very hearts to need Him, but how quickly I content myself with consuming the sand surrounding the treasure when His very life, this pearl of His love and friendship, is available to me. Often, it truly is because the counterfeit is so ready, so available… just a quick text or a little app scroll, and the itch of connection, of human need, is scratched.
Yet this work of digging or deep-sea diving for pearls and jewels of Christ, while it’s free to me it also beckons joyful seeking and reckless abandon. “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:12-13.
I wonder if perhaps why I’m feeling depleted today is that I’ve been striving after the wrong treasures. And isn’t it a gracious thing for God to not let me be satisfied in the sand? Jeremiah told God’s people, right in the middle of His righteous discipline, that God had good stored up for them. And not the good of restored homes and fields and wealth, but the good of HIS restored relationship with them.
The seeking after Him, the joyful surrender of all I hold dear to lay hold of Him as my greatest Love, it will require casting off the chaff, but I just know He is worth it all.
Matthew Henry also tells us, “nay, the richest mines are often in grounds that appear most barren.”
If you feel tired and barren of heart today, sisters, ask Him to restore the joy of finding Him, for you yourself have already been found by Him!
I’ll just leave you with this sweet invitation in Isaiah, an invitation to chase after a kingdom that will always satisfy:
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.”