“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.” (Matt. 13:44-46)
Through the season of Lent we focused on Jesus as King. Over the next several weeks, throughout the season of Easter, we focus on what His kingdom looks like.
We already learn a lot from these first few parables. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. One man is surprised to find it, while the other is searching intently for it. Both recognize the worth when the see it. These two pictures tell us one thing: the kingdom of heaven is valuable. In fact, it is so valuable that the people mentioned in the parable are willing to give up everything they have in order to gain it. The kingdom of heaven is of such value that we too should be willing to give up all that we have in order to gain it. There is risk involved, but it is worth the risk.
Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. (Matthew 13:47-48)
This third parable gives us a glimpse of what is to come, and why the kingdom is worth the risk. There is a time of judgement coming, when the good will be separated from the bad. The consequence of not seeking God’s kingdom, is to be thrown away, to be discarded, to be thrown “into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Like all of Jesus’ parables that deal with His return, it is a mixture of comfort and discomfort. There are consequences for our relationship to the King. There are consequences to whether or not we seek the kingdom. We enter the kingdom by grace (ever and always). But it is a grace that costs us everything, in order that we may gain something of so much more value. But if we reject the grace of God, reject the King and his kingdom, then we may find ourselves thrown out with the bad fish.
This is scary, because I sometimes find it hard to give up everything. I want to cling, to hold on to so much. I’m guessing I’m not alone. But I hope and I pray to God to help me to continue to seek God’s kingdom, even when it is risky, because Jesus says that the risk is well worth it.