GOSPEL READING: Matthew 13:44-46
44 “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. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Meditation: What do you treasure above all else and how do you keep it secure? In a peasant community the best safe was often the earth. The man in the parable “went in his joy” to sell everything he had (Matthew 13:44). Why? Because he found a hidden treasure worth possessing above everything else he had. He did not, however, have enough to buy the treasure. Fortunately, he only needed enough money to buy the field. In a similar fashion, God offers his kingdom as incomparable treasure at a price we can afford! We can’t pay the full price for the rich and abundant life which God offers us – but when we willingly exchange our life for the life which God offers, we receive a treasure beyond compare.
Searching for the greatest treasure of all
The pearl of great price also tells us a similar lesson (Matthew 13:45). Pearls in the ancient world came to represent the supremely valuable. Why would a merchant sell everything for a single pearl of peerless value? No doubt because he was attracted to what he thought was the greatest treasure he could possess for himself. On another occasion Jesus told his disciples, “do not throw your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). Beautiful unblemished pearls were intended to enhance the beauty and value of those who wore them. Do you recognize and value the hidden treasure of God’s kingdom and the peerless pearl which the Lord Jesus offers to all who believe in him?
Discovering heavenly treasure
Discovering God’s kingdom is like stumbling across a hidden treasure or finding the one pearl of great price. When we discover the kingdom of God we receive the greatest possible treasure – the Lord himself. Selling all that we have to obtain this incomparable treasure could mean many things – our friends, possessions, job, our “style of life”, what we do with our free time. Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure.
In this parable what does the treasure of the kingdom of heaven refer to? It certainly refers to the kingdom of God in all its aspects (a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit – Romans 14:17). But in a special way, the Lord himself is the treasure we seek. “If the Almighty is your gold and your precious silver, then you will delight yourself in the Almighty” (Job 22:22-23). Is the Lord the treasure and delight of your heart?
5 Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his testimonies, and the statutes that he gave them.
9 Extol the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Finding the pearl of great price, by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)
“Now among the words of all kinds that profess to announce truth, and among those who report them, he seeks pearls. Think of the prophets as, so to speak, the pearls that receive the dew of heaven and become pregnant with the word of truth from heaven. They are goodly pearls that, according to the phrase here set forth, the merchant seeks. And the chief of the pearls, on the finding of which the rest are found with it, is the very costly pearl, the Christ of God, the Word that is superior to the precious letters and thoughts in the law and the prophets. When one finds this pearl all the rest are easily released. Suppose, then, that one is not a disciple of Christ. He possesses no pearls at all, much less the very costly pearl, as distinguished from those that are cloudy or darkened.” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 18.8)