Day 16 - Treasure
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells as that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” --Matthew 13:44-46
Typically when these verses are read, the focus is placed mainly on the price that was paid. We think, “How remarkable that the purchaser sold everything in order to obtain this treasure or pearl.” However, take a look at what was purchased in the case of the man buying a field. He bought the whole stinking field!
Robert Capon again elaborates, “The church, like the purchaser of the field, can never afford to leave ‘unbought’ any part of the earthly field in which God has hidden the treasure of the mystery. It does not dare to risk its own sure knowledge of where the mystery of the Word is...by failing to purchase to itself every last bit of the field. The man who discovered the treasure did not simply buy the cubic yard or so of nice clean dirt in which he cleverly buried it. He bought the whole property: sinkholes, dungheaps, poison ivy, and sticker bushes, plus all of the rats, mice, flies, and beetles that came with it. So too the church: if it can’t bring itself to buy all sorts and conditions of human beings...it can’t even begin to pretend it’s [universal].”
The question then becomes not what am I willing to give up to experience God’s kingdom, but who or what am I willing to surround myself with for that experience? Remember that Jesus, at His birth, was not surrounded entirely by the finer things of this world. The visiting kings brought treasure but had to set it on the ground next to the cattle in the barn where Jesus was born. This is the world that Jesus chose; it’s the world He wants His followers to experience; it’s the mystery of God’s kingdom.
What other illustrations of this mystery do you notice at Christmas time? How else does following Christ display juxtapositions that make the experience whole? For example, the beauty of snow mixed with the freezing cold that goes with it.