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Gospel of Matthew 13: 44-46 (NIV)
44 “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.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Chapter 13 of Matthew’s Gospel presents seven of Jesus’ parables of the kingdom of heaven (the Kingdom of God). Jesus built the seven parables around life situations; those who listened would have known and understood the scenarios even if the underlying message was concealed from them. These two parables were for his disciples only: “Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him …” (verse 36).
Each of the parables above presents an image of something of great value, something one might yearn to possess. As well as intrinsically possessing great value, these two items can be perceived to be of great value but this is not evident to everybody, only to some. In both parables, the person finding these items was prepared to sell everything that he had in order to buy the field or to purchase the pearl.
How valuable to you is the kingdom of heaven? How valuable to you is citizenship in God’s kingdom? Is the kingdom of heaven of such value to you that you would make (or perhaps have made) a significant sacrifice in order to possess it, to be a citizen in it?
Citizenship of God’s kingdom entails owning Jesus Christ as Lord over all in your life: your public image, your private life, your family life, your resources and, perhaps most significantly, your will. It requires total and continuous surrender to his will. It requires an obedience to your king that far outstrips any obedience you might be called to afford to an earthly employer or government.
The Apostle Peter exclaimed to Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you” (John 13: 37b). Peter did not then realise that such a claim would mean that he no longer would have the authority to decide when and in what manner he would lay down his life for Jesus.
The same applies to those who earnestly seek the kingdom of heaven. We do not know what our king will require of us or when his call may come. We do not know whether the call to sacrifice will be once or often. In surrendering to his will, we accept his kingship over us and grant him the authority to require of us whatever he wills.
That is part of the price we pay for the treasure in the field, for the pearl of great price. But be reassured that the treasure or the pearl is worth this sacrifice.
The treasure our Lord offers us is close fellowship with him, in this life and in the next. He offers the promise of sins forgiven. He offers the prospect of a “clean slate”, of a blank record sheet before the judge of all the world and the assurance of our passing from death to life eternal. His love for his creation is assured; he offers us complete confidence in this love and in his uninterrupted presence with us.