“The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid, and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).
It occurs to me that most of the reality shows on television–if not all of them–deal with people in search of treasure.
The Weather Channel has prospectors digging in the Colorado mountains in search of precious metals and gems. The Animal Channel gives us a fisherman who travels the world in search of exotic “monsters” in rivers and creeks. They’re searching for treasures in pawn shops, in attics and garages and barns, in the stock market and in the ocean depths. I’m come across shows where men are crossing battlefields from ancient wars in search of treasured artifacts.
They’re looking for treasures in relationships, for just the right mate or sexual experience which will fulfill them. The treasure may be in the form of money or homes or oceanfront property. It may be the experience of a lifetime or a person who fills their deepest need.
Everyone is in search of a treasure of some kind.
Into that milieu, the Lord Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure….”
“Eureka!” is what Archimedes is supposed to have exclaimed once he found his treasure, a formula for detecting the amount of alloy in the golden crown of the king of Syracuse.
Some years ago, Campus Crusade for Christ did an evangelistic campaign under the heading “I Found It!” Bumper stickers and billboards shouted that message and a phone number. The curious who dialed the number would hear a testimony of how someone “found salvation” and a brief message on how the caller could also.
A minor controversy arose over whether “I found” salvation or whether “it” found me. In the stories our Lord told, the pursuer–the seeker, the initiator–was always the Lord Himself. The shepherd who finds one of his sheep missing at the end of the day will “leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it” (Luke 15:4). A woman who loses one of her ten coins turns the house upside down in her search for the missing piece (Luke 15:8).
“The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost,” said our Lord.
C. S. Lewis’ famously commented on man’s so-called search for God. “Man is no more searching for God,” he said, “than a burglar wants to find a policeman.”
If Jesus came to “seek and to save,” if “Jesus paid it all,” and if “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it,” then it’s hardly a stretch to say that….
The treasure Heaven was seeking was mankind.
You are His treasure.
He gave everything for you.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
I am His beloved.
I am the object of His eternal love.
I am the treasure for which He paid everything.
And so are you.
And, lest we lose sight of the overwhelming message of Christ, so is the miserable wretch in the gutter, the beggar on the street corner or the bum sleeping under the bridge.
They too are the objects of God’s everlasting love.
One wonders if they know, if they have been told.
One thing is certain. I cannot say to the fallen and the outcast, “Personally, I think you are a worthless drain on society, but God loves you and Jesus died for you.” Or, “I cannot stand your smell and don’t want to come near you, but here is a religious tract telling you how to live forever.” Or, “Get washed and put on some clean clothes and I have some good news for you.”
The only way they will begin to believe God loves them is by His children demonstrating that same affection.
And there’s the rub, as they say.
“God help me to demonstrate the same love toward the fallen and the outcast, the overlooked and the helpless, the forgotten and the unloved, that He has toward them. That He had toward me, in saving me.”
After all, I was no prize when “He reached down His hand for me.” I was dead in trespasses and sins.
He saw something there that He treasured.
“God, give us Thy eyes to see treasures where we see only sores.”