Have you ever watched the television show Storage Wars? The show features people who buy abandoned storage containers often full of junk, but there are times when they find a hidden treasure. Here is another question: Was there ever a time when you wanted something of great value so much that you were willing to sell your other possessions to purchase it? Many people do so by having a “yard sale” where they sell items they no longer want and use the money to buy something they desire. Would it surprise you to know that two parables taught by Jesus speak along those same lines where the kingdom of heaven is concerned?
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it, he goes and sells everything that he has and buys that field.”Matthew 13:44
A Costly Pearl
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold everything that he had and bought it.”Matthew 13:45-46
The two parables speak to the joy, the treasure or pearl of great value that is the kingdom of God, and both are essentially a call to make a decision on the part of anyone who desires to go to heaven. The teaching here is that even though salvation comes to us as a free gift, we must surrender all to receive it. We must turn our lives, possessions, and everything over to Jesus and follow Him as our Lord and Master – to fully surrender ourselves to His sovereign authority. But what the world cannot comprehend is that by surrendering all to Jesus, we gain more than the outermost limits of our imaginations could ever conceive.
For me, the second parable, “A Costly Pearl,” also speaks to the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross where God sees every soul, every person, as a pearl of great price that He so loves. So much so that Jesus, who was both God and man, surrendered all of Himself on the cross at Calvary. He purchased our salvation, our redemption with His very life so that we, in turn, would choose to seek first the kingdom of God, to surrender all in return and out of our love and desire to know and be with God forever. Yes, we, my friends, are pearls of great price to God.
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“God never leaves you nor forsakes you.” I’ve heard that before. “Jesus will leave the 99 to come after you.” I’ve heard that one too. Meanwhile, fear creeps up when life hurls a season of loneliness our way, and poof! Churchy sayings hold as much weight as thin air. Believe it or not, God is cheering us on and inviting us to thrive amidst the loneliness. Yes, it’s weird and scary, but this emptiness is a safe space where you get to hear the God of everything speak the loudest. You’re safe because God is so good at owning goodness amidst our dank, confused, lonely seasons, and because of Him, you aren’t so by yourself.”