“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.” Matthew 13:44 (ESV)
It was customary in Jesus’ day for a man to hide his wealth in some part of his house or in a field so that no one could find it. Often times a man would go on a journey or to war and die with no one knowing where he had hidden his treasure. Thus it was not uncommon in that day for someone to be digging in a field where he thought a treasure might be hidden. Should a treasure be found, the person would keep the discovery to himself and purchase the land making it and the treasure his own possession. Jesus alludes to this custom in his description of the kingdom of heaven (or kingdom of God).
The man in Jesus’ illustration was so joyous about finding a treasure that he sold everything he had and bought the field so he could have the treasure. Thus it should be for anyone who finds the real treasure; the kingdom of God. Being a part of the kingdom is worth paying whatever price is necessary to obtain it. Obviously the kingdom of God cannot be bought with money. Jesus used this illustration to convey how much the man was willing to give up to have the treasure. Jesus reiterated this point in Matthew 13:45. “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.”
A certain ruler assured Jesus that he had kept all the law in his quest for the kingdom. At which Jesus said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22 ESV) The man went away saddened because he had great possessions. Jesus later told his disciples, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:24-25 ESV) We measure our hunger for the kingdom of God by how much we are willing to give for it. As Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 ESV)
To be a part of the kingdom of God is to submit to the rule and reign of the King; Christ. Paul wrote, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. . . .” (Philippians 3:7-8 ESV)
The kingdom of God (God’s rule and reign) is a treasure worth keeping; a pearl of great price. The man covered the treasure so that no one would come and steal it from him. In the same way we should guard our hearts so that nothing can take the kingdom from us; especially the riches of this world. Jesus said, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15 ESV) He then told this parable: “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21 ESV)
Also notice that it was with joy that the man sold all that he had. He realized that the kingdom of God would bring him more joy than all the possessions he had previously acquired. True and lasting joy is only found in a kingdom where God reigns. He desires for his children to be full of joy (John 15:11).
That’s why we praise him!