“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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Jesus, Matthew 13:44-46 NIV
I see the man in the story scouting property – he’s looking for a good investment, a place to build a second location.
The man looks around, feeling pleased. Yes, this might just fit the bill. Good location, good land, a bit pricey.
The field is exactly what he was hoping to find. Pondering practicalities, he sadly concludes the cost is too much.
He begins to walk away, when boot scuffs dirt.
“What’s that?” the man wonders.
He kneels, bare hands shovel earth.
Sweat beads as blackened hands find edges.
Something. He feels it in his gut – it’s something.
Fingers work around edges and discover the old, wooden box. The man opens it carefully, revealing a pearl – large, luminous, perfect.
Eyes widen as he gazes upon treasure.
One word enters his mind, “priceless.”
He barely believes his eyes – has anyone noticed what he found?
He must act fast.
Quickly, treasure is once more hidden, a rock for cover and to mark the spot.
The man’s heart quickens as he calculates how he might buy the field.
The field will cost him all he has.
Joy and gratitude fill the man – he can buy the field.
He will acquire the treasure.
The Bible says the kingdom of God is like this hidden treasure.
God reached down through the person of Jesus, bled and died to give me His treasure of grace and salvation.
He tells me not to bury it but share it.
Share who He is.
Share the the pearl of great price.
Many years ago, I met a man named Enis I will never forget.
I was leaving a doctor’s appointment when I noticed an elderly black man leaning against the building. Twisted and bent, he leaned on two short crutches.
I asked if he was okay, did he need a ride? He told me he was waiting for the bus and we began to talk.
Enis was a Jehovah’s Witness eager to share his faith with me.
I listened and when it was my turn, I shared mine. I told him about Jesus and eternity isn’t marked by works but grace.
A friendly debate ensued – Enis tried to convince me his faith was true and I tried to help him see the deception. At times we teased each other then sincerely told the other we wanted to see them in heaven.
As we spoke, I saw a hint of doubt in his eyes.
Suddenly he switched gears and said, “I used to worship your Jesus. I was sold out for Him. I traveled around setting up tents and evangelizing in His Name.
Two years later, I was in a terrible car accident – both my legs were broken in multiple places. My spine was twisted and fractured. I required many surgeries and became bedridden for over a year.
No one from church came to see me after the first week.
I lay on my couch alone, in pain and depressed.
One day, there was a knock on my door – it was some Jehovah’s Witnesses. They came in and cared for me. They brought me food and kept visiting.
I know God is love and these people loved me – the people at my church left me. I realized these Jehovah Witnesses must know the truth and I had been mislead.”
His story broke my heart – I’ve never forgotten Enis or his story.
It reminds me that while I need to tell people about Jesus with words, I also need to show them Jesus with action.
I told Enis I was sorry his church, his people failed him. I told him Jesus is the Christ, the Lamb of God and the One he seeks.
Enis clung to what was taught by people who reached out during his time of greatest need.
Eventually we parted with a hug, each saying we hoped to see the other in Heaven.
My heart was heavy as I walked away.
Years later, I still think of Enis and pray God reached him.
The ways of God are often counter intuitive – the least is greatest, the fool shames the wise, the poor are rich.
To gain God’s treasure, I must give it away.