Imagine you are a treasure hunter like Indiana Jones or Clive Cussler. You have found compelling evidence of buried treasure or a sunken ship containing much gold, many jewels and precious artifacts. All of your careful research confirms that you are correct. You quietly begin to sell everything you own, mortgaging your home, and business; begging and borrowing as much funding as possible. You begin planning an expedition to a distant and dangerous part of the world, a location you can only share with your most trusted friends. You joyfully put everything on the line including your reputation. Your family and friends are worried about your mental stability.
“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.” (Matthew 13:44)
How is that like the kingdom of heaven?
Jesus’ parables are like riddles with multiple layers of meaning. His disciples had trouble understanding what he meant by the “kingdom” because they envisioned an earthly nation of Israel restored to her former glory and sovereignty, with a great king like David or Solomon sitting on the throne in Jerusalem.
Jesus’ teaching didn’t make any sense in that context. “The kingdom is here.” “The kingdom is within you.” The “kingdom” is about who you invite to dinner, where you sit at the table, who your neighbor is, where and how you build your house or invest your money. It has to do with how a farmer sows and harvests his crop, how a shepherd cares for sheep, how fishermen sort their catch, how yeast works in dough, and how merchants value pearls.
Back to treasure hunting: What’s the treasure? What’s the field? Who’s the treasure hunter? It depends on the way you see the Kingdom. Is the treasure only about me getting saved, obtaining my inheritance, and going to heaven. Surely, that is worth selling all that we have to obtain, but the full price for that has already been paid.
From Creator’s point of view, the “Treasure” is his children and the “Field” is the world, where his treasure is hidden, yet to be unveiled or revealed. The Great Treasure Hunter invested all that he had, with great joy, for the sake of this treasure, hidden yet among the nations of the earth. We who are part of the Family can join in the great Treasure Hunt. We see how precious the treasure is to heaven and joyfully and willingly invest everything we have to join in the search.
~ John Cooke