Where your treasure is...
By Jim Allen
The parable about the hidden treasure is among one of my favorites. Jesus begins by describing what the kingdom of heaven is like and explaining that within the kingdom is a treasure of great value. In fact, the treasure is so valuable that when found the searcher sells all his possessions to purchase the field and make it his own (Matthew 13:44).
One example expanding on this parable is athletes training for the Olympics. They see the field of sports as a kingdom and within its domain of physical excellence the treasured medals of gold, silver, and bronze. Olympic athletes sacrifice everything (give up their lives) to train in hopes of winning it all.
Treasure is an interesting thing. There is an old adage that says, "One man's junk is another man's treasure." It's true. Back in my day city dumps were the solution to managing garbage of every imaginable sort. City dumps were the waste management solution for the time. The dumps were open pits where everything of no apparent value was thrown.
Most every day some townspeople, known as dump rats, ignored the flies and stench and sifted through the garbage. Poor and having few possessions, they were motivated by the discovery of hidden treasure. They left nothing unturned, sorting through and probing for anything and everything that might have value. Sure enough, they found some things they regarded as valuable. Pulling soiled objects from beneath the trash and filth, they carefully cleaned their recovered items the best they could and went home telling stories about their discovery of rare treasure.
Biblical treasure is very different from our view of what is valuable. Bible treasure is rare, holy, and most always associated with the kingdom of God. It is of great value and rarely found by those who halfheartedly seek it. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul."
One among many wondrous truths about the Christian life is we are earthen vessels with a treasure inside (2 Corinthians 4:7). Though we do not look like a jar of clay, we are of the earth just the same. The heavenly Potter formed each of us for a special purpose (Isaiah 45:9; 64:8; Romans 9:21). Our purpose is to carry about the light of the Gospel that came alive in us (1 Peter 1:23).
To recognize and possess the living Christ is the greatest treasure of all (Philippians 3:9).
Israel, assisted by Roman guards, crucified Jesus with the hope his message of the kingdom and its treasure would stay buried. The old adage mentioned earlier begs repeating: "One man's junk is another man's treasure." To the nation of Israel Jesus' life and words of life were rejected. But to those who would believe in Him by trusting His words of life, both became Treasures beyond measure (John 20:29).
The good news is the Lord Jesus and his message didn't stay buried for long. On Sunday morning Jesus arose, but so too did the hope of eternal life.
The parable of the hidden treasure is your story and my story. We all have stories about finding the treasure God hides from those who do not care to look or will not believe. God brings Jesus and the Gospel message near enough for all to catch the holy glitter in the light of grace (Titus 2:11-14). But only a handful care enough to inspect its divine sparkle against the shimmering appeal of the world.
For the Christ-rejecting world, the record of Jesus's miracles and His message of eternal life make no difference. To the world Jesus and the offer of life everlasting with God is waste to be tossed into a city dump. But to the believer the Jesus is the Treasure among treasures, hidden from all except for those searching diligently with their heart (Jeremiah 29:13).
In the overall scheme of things, men view the work of God through Christ as nothing more than a thought-provoking historical event that belongs to another time, another place, and another people. Of course, they are wrong. Christ belongs to all seekers from all places for all time.
In closing, the work of God through Christ is eternal. His work was true then and is true today (Hebrews 13:8). Our work is to believe His salvation is complete in us and to live our story for all to see the treasure of Christ within (2 Corinthians 4:7). The world cannot see the wonder and glory of Christ because His touch can only be felt with the heart (2 Corinthians 4:7).
What's the message? There are many stories about finding your treasure in life and not all of them include silver and gold. Though the greatest treasure is rarely sought and seldom found, it is still available for all to find (Jeremiah 29:13). Some will find it and come to know its true meaning, which is simply: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21).
Note: One way I like to think about Jesus and salvation is to see Him as a gifted sculptor who completed a great work. When we celebrate a statue chiseled from stone, we celebrate and honor the sculptor of the work. We do not honor the work, though we appreciate and benefit from the work. We honor and celebrate the sculptor because he is the true Treasure, the visionary and power behind the work. Jesus is our eternal treasure because of his work on the cross.
Image Credit: Robert Hruzek; "Love"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Jesus-Christ
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