It’s interesting how we can be so familiar with a story, read it again, and have that story impact us in a way it never did before. That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago while sitting in church.
I don’t remember exactly what the pastor’s message was about that particular week but I do remember that it took me to Matthew 13:34. It’s pretty short so I’ll go ahead and post it here:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a [very precious] treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field [securing the treasure for himself].”
We know that Jesus gave a lot of his teachings through parables. I’ve learned that many of them are deeper than I ever thought and I love discovering the deeper waters of his words. I’ve never asked questions about the passage above and maybe you haven’t either. Maybe it’s because it’s so short, or because it has the word treasure. It feels good to think about the kingdom as treasure and sparkly things seem to distract many of us.
Anyway, as soon as I finished reading the passage I felt a couple of questions pop into my head that I’d never considered. In this story Jesus describes a man who is searching for a treasure in a particular field. He happens to find a crazy-awesome treasure that fills him with joy. Instead of taking the treasure he buries it again, sells all he has, and buys the entire field.
Here are the questions:
- How did he know what field to search in?
- Why did he bury the treasure again instead of just taking it with him?
- What filled him with so much joy?
- Why in the world did the dude sell all he had to buy the entire field instead of just taking what he’d already found?
So if you have the answers, go ahead and email me. Good talk.
Just kidding. I feel like the Lord gave me some revelation here that makes me smile. I think the man in Jesus’ story was drawn to the field (Kingdom of God) because he’d heard there was something different about it—something that might be able to transform the hopeless life he’d been living.
After searching through the field for a while, he found the greatest treasure he could ever hope for (Jesus; perfect love and acceptance). He was filled with the joy of a secured identity for the first time ever, and realized this new joy and identity could never exist apart from the field.
He then supposed that entire field must be filled with treasure (faith). He thought that if the first treasure healed and freed him in the ways he’d always hoped, he needed every bit of treasure the field had to offer. So he went and sold all he had (his old life) and gave everything he had to the field (see Philippians 3:7-11).
Jesus was painting a picture of what it means to come alive in him. We have no idea what the man in the story had experienced over the course of his life but we do know that something needed to change. He found everything he was looking for and more. The depth of this very short parable is astounding. It blows my mind that Jesus could say so much by saying so little.
I think there are three types of people we might recognize from this story.
The first group are like the man Jesus told us about. They find the treasure and it’s the answer to everything their hearts need. They invest everything they have and, as they grow and mature, continue to discover the wonderful treasures of the kingdom. They discover that while revelation of love and acceptance is the foundation, it’s just the tip of the iceberg of the beauty that’s in store for them in every area of their lives.
The second type are the ones who discover the treasure but because of wounds and hurts from past experiences, it looks dim and uninviting. They don’t trust it. Instead of jewels they see it as rust. They turn up their noses and walk away leaving the treasure lying in the ground.
The third group are the ones who take in a mixed version of the treasure. It’s not bright but it’s not dull either. Lot’s of confusion for this group. They know God loves them in their minds but it’s not a reality in their hearts. Conflicting beliefs about God’s nature and character hurt them. They want to completely buy in but they’re not quite sure how. They know the promise of abundant life but wonder where it is.
There might be more groups you can think of but most of us fall into one of these. Maybe we’ve experienced all three. But I think we can all agree that we’d like to be included in the first set. We want the beauty; we want the abundant life; we want to come alive with Jesus and experience everything he has for us. We want to know and experience the perfect love of God without any reservations.
And we can…ALL of us.
No matter what group we fall into the full treasure of the kingdom is within our reach. If the treasure isn’t bright it’s because we’re wearing glasses that are showing us a false reality. Ask God to show you what those glasses are called and how to get rid of them.
Come find the treasure!
Jesse and Kara
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