“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)
Discovering God’s kingdom is like stumbling across a hidden treasure or finding the one pearl of great price. When we discover the kingdom of God we receive the greatest possible treasure – the Lord himself.
I know you agree with that. The issue is the scandal that confronts us each day. Scandal? Yup!
We see in this parable that God is the merchant, and God is searching for us. There is no explaining why God is so determined to find us. God has already given us our lives, our minds, our abilities, our families and friends. God has already given us his Son and the promise of eternal life. But God wants more. God wants to possess us as his own.
We are the ones who usually pass on this opportunity. We believe in God, and we know that all good things come from God. Yet we pray, “God, thank you for all that I have received—for my life, for my job, for my family and friends—but could you please remain a giver from afar? Why do you have to come so close? I am not really ready to be all in. Can’t I just live a moral life and go to church on the weekends? I love you, and I will praise you. But I really don’t want to be your possession.”
Yet despite all of our protests that we are too busy, that we are too fearful, that we are too sinful, God keeps coming. God keeps searching for an opportunity to catch our imagination, to break our routine, to open our hearts so that he can have us. No effort is too great, no distance is too far to keep God from coming, always hoping that we will be willing to go deeper, that we will be willing to hand ourselves over. Then we would see what satisfaction there is in following the gospel, how much sense it makes to forgive our enemies, what energy we would have to work for justice, and what joy would be ours to be God’s own.
We can always say no. We can always resist this deeper relationship. But God does not give up. What God values determines the search, and to God we are not a small piece of plastic. We are a pearl of great price. He wants us to be his. In the end it is both sensible and wise to give in. In fact, it is our salvation to let ourselves be found.
The parable reminds us that obtaining the most important things in life is not a process over which we have control. It is a process over which God has control. And God is not bound to use our wisdom or our efforts. Now, should we go for what is the most important thing? Should we seek our heart’s desire? By all means—with all of our energy and strength. If we try sincerely, sometimes like the merchant searching for fine pearls, we will find it. But on those days when our energy runs out, on those days when our searching seems futile, on those days when we cannot even think of another thing we can try, the gospel reminds us not to give up hope. God still intends to save us. God still intends to give us our heart’s desire. And it is possible to stumble on the most important things, like finding a treasure hidden in a field.
Each day we need to learn that we live with confidence. God is in charge. Whether we are looking for God or not, God is looking for us. And God is always successful.
Now that’s a pearl worth any price!
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, reveal to me the true riches of your kingdom. Help me to set my heart on you alone as the treasure beyond compare with any other. Free my heart of any inordinate desires or attachment to other things that I may freely give to you all that I have in joy and gratitude for all that you have given to me. May I always find joy and delight in your presence.”
God constantly gives us the chance in life to choose him as our treasure, to value him more than we value the good things of life, to esteem him even more than we value our own life. And so, we have to persevere in choosing the treasure of the kingdom and not give in to the temptation to trade it for something fleeting and far less valuable.