Have you heard about the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value? When Matthew wrote his perspective on the Good News about Jesus Christ, he gathered a bunch of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 13. This is how they go…
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”
The typical approach to these parables that I have heard is: Be that guy! Sell everything, be willing to give up everything, so you can gain the kingdom.
Truly, the kingdom is worth everything and anything we give up pales in comparison to it. Truly, we don’t want anything between us and God, for those people and things are idols.
But there are two problems with the typical approach. First, that’s not what the text is saying which is huge but the bigger problem is even worse. When we take that approach, we push ourselves towards legalism; it’s about earning the kingdom which is a gift from God. The good news becomes good advice.
So what’s it saying?
Right before these parable, Jesus says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field.” Then he talks about an enemy who sows weeds in the field. Eventually, both wheat and weeds are harvested and then sorted. Right after these parables, Jesus says, “…the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind.” The fisherman pulls the fish onto the shore and sorts the catch into good fish and bad fish.
In both these parables, as in all scripture, we see two groups: There are those who have embraced God’s acceptance and love and are resting in his grace, and there are those who have persistently remained indifferent, resisted, or outright rejected God’s acceptance and love. The second group are eventually given over to their heart’s desires.
What all this means is that the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value are not things you are supposed to strive for and sacrifice for!
They are you!
They are you and me and the one who buys the field and the pearls so he can have the what he values above all else is… Jesus. Under the shadow of the cross he couldn’t see beyond the portal of the tomb. He thought it was a one way trip. And yet, he stayed the course; fought the battle, gave up everything, and ransomed you from the enemy of life. These parables tell us that we are infinite worth and value to God.
Yes, we’re broken and hurting and angry and stubborn but we have love and belonging with God because he treasurers us; gave everything to rescue us.
Here’s the great big idea I want you to take away from this. When you’re in pain, overwhelmed, thinking you’ve run out of options, people will probably say: remember that your friends love you, your family loves you, God loves you. ALL TRUE.
But I don’t think that’s going to get you through.
Instead you need to see your infinite worth and value in God and… Love yourself.
You need to love yourself enough to ask for help.
You need to love yourself enough to hold on to hope.
You need to love yourself enough to seek healing.
You need to love yourself enough hold on one more day… after all, it’s always just one day at a time.