Some of my favorite stories growing up were Aesop’s Fables. Each was short, used animals to tell the story, and ended with a moral. They are like the stories, or parables, Jesus often used in His teaching. A parable is defined by Dictionary.com as a short allegorical story designed to illustrate of teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. I’m sure that many of the people who heard them walked away wondering what in the world Jesus meant, people still do. Jesus quotes from the Old Testament “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (Matthew 13:13 NIV) The Pharisees often understood the parable and were furious, because many were pointed at them. Though there are several parables in this chapter I want to focus on two little ones that talk about the importance the Kingdom of Heaven should have in our lives.
The first is in verse 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 the field.” (NIV) Have you ever been searching for just the right gift? You’ve searched the internet, in stores, everywhere, when you finally find it and it is the last one in the store, but you don’t have enough cash to get it. I have. So, what do I do? I take it to a different section of the store and hide it, then run to the bank and run back to the store, hoping beyond hope that no one found it and bought it or moved it back where it belongs. Then getting back to the store I go to where I put it, grab it, and buy it. I think this is the point Jesus is making here. The Kingdom of Heaven is that treasure, just what we’ve been looking for, our heart’s deepest desire. The joy we feel at finding it is so overwhelming, we give up all the other “stuff” in our lives that used to be so important to us, to receive that greatest treasure.
The second is very similar to the first. It is from verse 45-46: “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.” (NIV) Here is a merchant who searches all over for fine pearls which he finds, buys, and sells. He is obviously pretty knowledgeable about quality in pearls. But one day he comes upon one so exquisite, so perfect, that he has to have it for his own. He goes home, sells everything, comes back and buys the pearl.
Is the Kingdom of Heaven a priceless treasure to you? What are you willing to give up for it? Are you willing to give up everything you once thought important to gain it? What do you think?