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The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he
had and bought that field. (Matthew 13:44.)
The parable of the hidden treasure is one of my favorites. In
only two sentences, it provides a picture of the kingdom of heaven that I often
return to for perspective and encouragement.
One part of the parable has recently caught my attention.
After finding the treasure, the man sold all he had to obtain it, and we are
told that he did this in his joy. It’s easy for me to gloss over that
phrase and to focus instead on what the man did. Of course the man was in
his joy after finding hidden treasure. Who wouldn’t be?
But the more I think about it, the more significant the
phrase seems. The man was in his joy because he found treasure worth all
he had and more. His joy was found in the worth of the treasure, and
nothing—not even parting with all he had—could take that joy away.
Yet if joy is the obvious response to hidden treasure in a
field, how much more should I be in my joy as a follower of Jesus. The
hidden treasure is merely a symbol of something greater. The Apostle Paul called
knowing Christ “the surpassing greatness,” and his response to that surpassing
greatness was to count everything as loss so that he could “gain Christ and be found in him.” (Philippians 3:8–9.) Through everything he endured,
including whippings, beatings, stonings, and imprisonment, Paul was determined
to share in Christ’s sufferings and “press on toward the goal.”
Paul not only pressed on but he did so with joy. His letter
to the Philippians, though written from prison, is filled with references to
joy and rejoicing, and near the end of the letter, he exhorted the Philippians
to “rejoice in the Lord always.” (Philippians 4:4.) It is that exhortation to
rejoice in the Lord that takes us back to the man’s joy in the parable. Just as
the man’s joy was found in the worth of the hidden treasure, so our joy is found in the Lord—a resilient joy that sustains even through loss and mourning
because in Christ we have, unlike any other treasure, “an inheritance that can
never perish, spoil or fade” and is “kept in heaven” for us. (1 Peter
Father, I pray that you will
give me a Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know you better. I
pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened so that I may know the hope
to which you have called me, the riches of your glorious inheritance, and your
incomparably great power for us who believe. And I pray that my love will
abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that I may be able
to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the
glory and praise of God. Amen.
(Adapted from Ephesians 1:17–19 and Philippians 1:9–11.)
South Park Church1330 S. Courtland Avenue | Park Ridge, IL firstname.lastname@example.org | 847.825.5507
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