I recently had the opportunity to preach at our local church. My message was on two short parables: the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great value, from Matthew 13.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a 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. 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
The parables can be broken down into three basic parts. First, the parables are about the Kingdom of Heaven – the discovery that followers of Jesus are called to live under His reign as King and establish His Kingdom on earth. Second, the parables communicate that having God reign over our lives is like a treasure, or a pearl of great value. Thirdly, there is a mysterious exchange that takes place. The man in the field and the merchant exchange something of lesser value (selling all that they have) for something of greater value (the treasure or the pearl).
The story told is simple but deep. What is meant by the man in the field and the merchant, “selling all that they have”? I would assert that this is not about money or possessions. Rather, the men in the parables give up all that they previously looked to for identity and security because they found something of greater value: belonging in the Kingdom of God. The message is related to what Jesus says in Matthew 16.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”Matthew 16:24-25
This is a counter-cultural message that is the very heartbeat of what it means to be a Christian. Are we willing to “give-up” our will, our autonomy, and kingship over our lives, in order to come into the Kingdom? Will we have Jesus as King and allow our devotion to Him to determine how we spend our time, our money, how we behave, how we treat others, and what we watch on television? There is a beautiful paradox in these verses in Matthew and in the parables: when we give up control to God, we find ourselves. Our deepest joys are experienced. We taste true freedom. As St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they find their rest in you.”
It is a treasure to give up our autonomy and come under the Lordship of Jesus. He will direct our lives for our joy, both here on earth and forevermore. Have you discovered the treasure of giving up control?
To hear more: below is an audio link to the sermon I gave on these parables! Take a listen!
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