Jesus told the story of a man who discovered a treasure in a field. The man went and sold all he had to buy the field. The purpose of the parable is to show what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. I don’t plan to give an expository teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven. But as I read this passage, I can’t help but wonder about the back story.
Imagine for a moment this scene is set in modern times.
Television announcer: We’re standing here with Jebidiah Smith. He is about to close escrow on this piece of in-fill property, nestled between Walmart and Payless Shoes. As you can see (camera pans to the field behind announcer), this lot is overgrown with weeds. A lot of trash has collected here, except for one place where the litter has been cleared. Looks like someone has been digging.
“Mr. Smith, what development plans do you have for this prime piece of property?”
Jebidiah Smith: (deer in the headlights look) Uh, well, (scratches his beard), I don’t have no plans just yet.
Announcer: How is it that you came by this property? It’s been on the market for years, yet you decided to buy it?
Smith: Yep. That be right. (Places his hand over his mouth to hide a grin)
Announcer: But why purchase it if you have no immediate plans?
Smith: Well, uh, can’t rightly say at this point in time. (heads toward the empty lot)
Announcer (looking confused): Back to you in the studio, Frank
Frank: We have Mrs. Smith here with us. (pans to Mrs. Jebidiah Smith): Mrs. Smith, what did you think when your husband said he wanted to purchase this piece of property?
Mrs. Smith: He’s crazy! He came home and told me he wanted to buy that barren piece of dirt and I told him in no uncertain terms he wasn’t gonna do it. He’s always out somewhere, looking for recyclables and such. You’d a think he found a gold mine or something.
Frank: So, what happened?
Mrs. Smith: He went and sold everything!
Frank (incredulous): Everything?
Mrs. Smith: That’s right. He sold our house, cars, even some of our furniture. Can you imagine? He’s having some sort of mid-life crisis or something.
Frank: Surely he gave you a hint. Is he planning to build a Subway shop? Or maybe a hamburger place?
Mrs. Smith: I don’t know. But I tell you what, if he don’t stop this nonsense, I’m filing for divorce!
Announcer: We’re back on the scene. It appears Mr. Smith is digging. (Camera pans to Jebidiah Smith). Mr. Smith, what are you doing?
(Jebidiah smiles and continues digging)
I wonder if the man who owned the field asked why the sudden interest. What if he knew there was buried treasure? Would he have changed his mind?
I know it’s just a story, but in real life, we also diligently search for something of value. I used to think if I could make a certain amount of money, then I’d feel like I’d arrived. When it happened, the fleeting satisfaction of accomplishment quickly disappeared. Many times I’ve thought: If I could just get X’, I’ll be happy. Unlike the guy in the story I’ve searched for something with no true and lasting value.
What are you searching for? Is it something of value? Is it worth your time and energy?
Finally, will it have eternal value?