The Value of the Kingdom
The two parables we are considering today are short and simple, yet powerful. In the first, a man found a treasure in a field. He then hid it and went to buy the field so he could possess the treasure. During Jesus' time, it was common for one to hide treasure in the ground for safe keeping. If the one who hid it died, the treasure's whereabouts might not be known.
Some have suggested the hiding of the treasure was unethical. However, Edersheim in The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah says, "It was, at least, in entire accordance with Jewish law...The law went so far as to adjudge to the purchaser of fruits anything found among these fruits."
In the second, a merchant was seeking beautiful pearls. When he found one of great value, he sold everything he had to be able to buy it. While the man who found the treasure in the field likely did so by accident, this merchant knew he was looking for valuable pearls. The truth can be found in a manner quite accidental or very intentionally. McGarvey suggests the Samaritan woman was one of the former and the Ethiopian Eunuch one of the latter (John 4; Acts 8). It does not matter how one finds it as long as he recognizes its potential and gives up all to possess it.
The Supreme Value of the Kingdom
The kingdom of God is worth more than all other possessions. Its value can be seen in the purchase price Jesus paid. Paul said Christ gave his own blood (Acts 20:28). One can see the worth of the kingdom by comparing the greatest possible wealth with losing one's soul. In Matthew 16:26, Jesus asked his disciples, "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Knowing the value of the kingdom should motivate one to seek it as the top priority in his life. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). The Lord had noted the importance of following God as one's only master because divided loyalty would cause one to fail (verse 24).
Once one realizes the true value of the kingdom, he will have an unquenchable desire to possess it. In fact, he will sacrifice all else to have the kingdom in his life. "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24‑25).
Paul described himself as a Jew of the highest standing. "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7‑8). He urged the brethren at Rome to present their bodies as living sacrifices which would be acceptable to God (12:1‑2).
The Joy of Possessing the Kingdom
The man who found the hidden treasure reacted in a noteworthy way. "And for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." We have already seen that Paul gave up much to be a part of Christ's kingdom. Yet, he could write in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" He learned contentment in times of abasement or plenty. Want did not dissuade him from joy because he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him (4:10‑13). One can rejoice in giving up all else because he has found something of ultimate value!
Perhaps the pearl merchant of Christ's story gives us insight into the source of joy. He had a single purpose. When he found the object of that purpose, all else was surrendered to obtain the pearl. Again, Paul shows us the way when he describes his own thinking. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13‑14).
If we would experience the ultimate joy, we must focus on the single goal of heaven. Like the Eunuch, those finding the will of God will not want to be hindered in their obedience. Once such is completed, they too will go on their way rejoicing (Acts 8:26‑39).
1. What facts make the
kingdom of God valuable to you?
2. What does Jesus say one
must do to possess the kingdom?
3. List some of the things
Paul gave up to be a Christian.
4. What caused the man who
gave up all and purchased a field to rejoice?
Why do you think one should rejoice upon finding the kingdom of
5. What special insight does the pearl merchant give us into the truest source of joy?
--Gary Hampton, author, evangelist, and preacher training school
--Gary Hampton, author, evangelist, and preacher training school director