“The kingdom of heaven is like 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.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is 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.
I recently had a change to preach through these two short parables at LifePoint. You can listen below – or download it here (right click – or control click – to save file). While I think that this is the shortest text that I’ve ever preached through, this passage packs a punch. In fact, the parable is as jarring as it is short. The point is sharp and singular: the Kingdom of Heaven is of incomparable value.
If you get the chance to listen to the message, you’ll hear the story of Button Gwinnett‘s signature. I first heard this improbable story on the RadioLab podcast. Although the vast majority of us have probably never heard of Gwinnett, his signature is very likely worth more than that of any other American – living or dead. We’re almost certainly talking seven figures here. Listen to the message, or the RadioLab podcast, for the whole story… but here suffice it to say that I find the Button Gwinnett story so compelling, because – at least to me – it exposes the strange way that we value things in our world.
In fact, as I think about what many of us might consider most important in this world, I think that we’re often taking our cues from everybody else. How often do we base value on what everyone else says? And it’s not just economics; we play this game with our values, our priorities, our purpose, our money, our time, and on and on. It all reminds me of the old Candid Camera bit…
We fall right in line, don’t we? And I don’t think that it’s just elevators. We play this game with our lives, our values, our priorities. But here Jesus reminds us of an incomparable treasure – something worth letting go of everything else in order to purse. Compared to this Kingdom, everything’s worth is relative. It’s all passing – temporary. Jesus bids us to look up from our games and see that – when compared to the value of the Kingdom – our dream homes are just sandcastles slowing being dragged back into the ocean by the tide. The careers that we obsess over are fleeting. The relationships that we long for are just shadows of what it means to be known and loved by God.