“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 all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

 

[T]he other day a friends sent me the above Bible verse and challenged me to write about it. He was hoping to start a discussion on what it means for us today, and to answer his questions about the two-sentence parable of Jesus.  “Whose field was it? Was the man a thief for taking the treasure? Should we find joy in treasure?”

I started by looking at commentaries on the verse. Most explained as I understood that we are the man who finds the treasure and that the treasure is salvation and eternal life with God. We should be willing to give up (Sell) all of our earthly treasure to attain the heavenly, and much more valuable treasure. The Bible Gateway says, “Jesus lays the entire emphasis on the price the man is ready to pay to invest in this treasure far greater than any he already owns. Although this treasure, like the kingdom, is hidden to most of the world, not only does the man recognize that its value outweighs all he has, but (unlike most of us today) he acts accordingly.”

There was another site that believed we are the treasure and God was the man.  God found so much joy in His Creation that he gave up all he had and humbled Himself, as mentioned in Philippians 2, giving up His very essence of God to be born as a human and died a horrible death so that he could repair the relationship that was broken in the Garden of Eden.  I can see where he was coming from but not sure that explanation fits with who Jesus was talking to and with all the other “heaven is like” parables in the Gospel.

For my friend’s sake, I did find a commentary that said burying a treasure in a field was a common practice in Jesus’ time.  It was very likely that the owner of the field died without digging up his treasure and no one else knew about it. It was a case of “Finders Keepers” when the man stumbled across the treasure.  Jesus has been referred to as returning “Like a in the night” but the man here would have been the legitimate owner of the treasure once he purchases the field.

The irony of this challenge comes when I looked for an example of what this might look to us today.  The day before posing this challenge, my friend shared a picture of his son who is spending two months on a mission trip in Africa. (The picture above) The entire time I was thinking about the blog, all I could see was the picture of his son and the joy on his face while giving up everything, virtually putting his life on hold, to go to Africa and minister to the kids in a village of Kenya.  I’m sure the son doesn’t see it that way; he was just going to Africa to play soccer with some kids. The funny part is that I had a conversation with my friend a while back and told him I could very easily see his son coming back from Africa, turning around and going right back; giving up all he has here to pursue the joy he found in expanding God’s Kingdom in Africa.  Most of us would not understand (see) the treasure as my friend’s son understands it, but each man’s treasure is his own.  I truly think that is what Jesus is talking about.

What do you think?  Do you have a different understanding of Jesus’ words?  Have you ever given up something to gain something greater, that no one else can see?  Let’s have that discussion here by posting a comment.

 

 

P.S. Sorry Maggie, maybe you make the next posting.