There’s much interest these days in presenting your case as a story to convince the jury. We all like a good story. Jesus liked the idea 2000 years ago and He often used stories to teach powerful lessons. We call them parables and several are clustered in Matthew 13. Two of these are very short and focus on the great value of “the kingdom of heaven.” (13:44-45) It’s “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.” It’s “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.”
Have you been searching diligently for anything of great value lately? Have you stumbled on to a good find, almost by accident? Is there anything so valuable to you that you would sell all you have in order to get it? In both of Jesus’ stories, the person finds what is valuable and then makes a real sacrifice to possess it.
Did you read the story of Odyssey Marine Exploration’s discovery? From a shipwreck off England’s coast, this Tampa-based company retrieved 500,000 coins from the colonial era. Each coin is expected to get $1,000 or more. Understandably, Odyssey won’t reveal many details, but you can be sure this find took great effort with expensive high-tech equipment. It’s not their first find, but it’s the biggest by far in their 13-year history. One of the company leaders affirmed this was “not just a lucky one-shot deal.” He said, “Rather than a shout of glee, it’s more like being able to exhale for the first time in a long time.”
Contrast the story of a 21-yr-old single mother of 3 in Greenville, SC, in late May 2007. She was training with Goodwill and sorting clothing. She found $5,000 with a note in some donated pajama pants, which she dutifully turned in to her supervisor. A genuine search was made, but the donor or intended recipient couldn’t be found, so she got to keep the full amount. I call that “GOOD Goodwill.” I don’t know Kelli Owens, but I would guess $5,000 seemed to her like $500 million might seem to Odyssey. She probably did shout with glee.
Now, according to Jesus, the kingdom of heaven, which I interpret to mean “having God reigning in your heart,” is worth more than the Goodwill gal’s $5,000 or even Odyssey’s potential $500 million. Both are great treasures. One was found with great concentration and the other by accident. Jesus might ask, “Is either worth selling all you have to possess?” I think both finders would answer, “No.” Kelli’s 3 kids are worth far more. Odyssey’s ships and equipment might be worth more. But, Jesus offers something that is worth more than ALL the world can offer. He says that when you find it and recognize it for what it’s worth, you should sacrifice all you own to possess it. Jesus Himself is the greatest treasure, I believe, and trusting Him means that God will rule your heart and mind. If you’ve found Him, I pray you’ll keep him, even if it demands great sacrifice.
Article copyright (c) 2009 by Charles G. Mickey. All rights reserved.
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