Treasure in a Field!
“Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like some treasure which has been buried in a field. A man finds it and buries it again, and goes off overjoyed to sell all his possessions to buy himself that field.”
Matthew 13:44 (Phillips)
I watched a TV documentary programme recently about a hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold that was discovered by a young man called Terry Herbert while he was searching a section of a freshly ploughed field with his metal detector in Staffordshire England on the 5th of July 2009. In total, 3,500 items of silver and gold were unearthed and were finally valued at £3.3 million! When Terry initially approached the farmer for permission to search, he was told; “You won’t find anything there, hundreds of people have tried and got nothing!” This hoard has now been purchased by the Birmingham Museum and Terry and the farmer have received half of the purchase price each. During his interview on TV, Terry, who was completely blown away by his find, kept asking the questions; “Why was I allowed to find this treasure and not someone else? Had I been specially singled out for this?” Those are great questions, aren’t they?
In the parable Jesus told in the scripture above, the finder reburies the treasure–why? Because in the Middle Eastern culture at that time, the owner of the field would have claimed all of this treasure for himself and the finder would have got nothing. With foresight and wisdom this person reburies the hoard, sells everything and buys the field so now he is the owner of a piece of ground and has the treasure too.
“Or again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he has found a single pearl of great value, he goes and sells all his possessions and buys it.” (Matthew 13:45 Phillips).This parable of the fine pearl makes the same point as the previous one but instead of finding this treasure by accident; this well-off merchant is actively searching for it! So, he has some idea about what he wants and puts forth the effort to find it. (Compare Matthew 6: 33)
In these two parables Jesus is telling his listeners, and us also, that the Kingdom is of supreme value and when we find it—either accidentally or by concerted effort—we need to fully grasp its infinite worth; and joyfully let go of all competing claims on our lives and make it our one great possession!
Gracious Father, give us the wisdom to treasure the Kingdom of heaven however we find it—by accident or by diligent searching—and realise with great joy that its value is far beyond any earthly price.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
LUTON LU1 5JE
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