“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.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
Yearning. Searching. Surprise. Eureka! Joy. Eagerness. Determination. Sacrifice. Treasuring.
All these words, one after another, play into these twin stories that speak of the heart-stopping wonder of gaining the kingdom of heaven. But the essence of each story focuses on the unsurpassed value of the kingdom itself – oh, so valuable! It’s well worth giving up everything else in order to gain it. Indeed, the buyers, without hesitation, eagerly sell all they own to pay the price. They seem to feel, even then, that it’s a bargain!
That’s Jesus’ point. The kingdom is that good. It’s so weighty in its value that nothing else competes. Indeed, measured against everything else these buyers possess, no price is too high.
If this is the essence of these stories, let’s pause and reflect. Is this how we feel about knowing God? Do we gladly put everything else aside in order to come under his sovereign rule? Do we make our time and resources wholly available to him without reserve? Do we set our minds and imaginations on what the Spirit desires, rather than anything else? Do we set aside other priorities when the Lord calls us? Do we give him our best? Do we submit future plans to his will? Or are there other desires and priorities, commitments and relationships, that squeeze what we can offer the Lord? Do other things get in the way?
The man finding treasure laid aside everything in order to gain it. So, too, the pearl merchant. How about us?
But there are other attitudes from these characters that also call us to reflect. Here are some:
· Yearning. Searching. Do we maintain an ongoing eagerness for the Lord – asking, seeking, knocking? Do we maintain David’s attitude? “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you” (Psalm 63:1).
· Surprise. Eureka! Joy. Do we nurture that first love for the Lord, maintaining the surprising joy of discovering his amazing grace?
· Eagerness. Do we happily engage in following the Lord as closely as strength allows, joyfully pressing in with all we’ve got?
· Determination. Sacrifice. Do we decisively sacrifice for the sake of our Lord? Do we take up our cross daily? Do we continually lay down our life?
· Treasuring. Does gratitude for all we have received continually well-up within us, praising him with hearts and hands and voices?
These characters challenge me. Their joy inspires me. They help me seek more of the kingdom – more of my Lord.
Lord, please ignite within me again, by the power of your good Spirit, the joy of your kingdom – the delight of walking with you in your ways. For your glory. Amen.
Reflect: Choose one of the attitudes of kingdom-discovery above and seek to walk in it more fully this day. Submit it to the Lord. Ask the Spirit’s help.
Photo by Marin Tulard on Unsplash