When you were a child did you ever hunt for hidden treasure? I sure did. I lived in the country where there were literally acres of land I could explore. The only thing I found that was semi valuable was a whiskey jug that my father made into a lamp. Do you remember looking for coins or dollar bills on the ground or in the coin return on pay phones? Sometimes we look for buried treasure in the garage sales or rummage sales. We can look for specific items or be drawn to special treasures that might be worth a few dollars. It is fun to find hidden treasures or to look for hidden treasures but that is not what our live should always be about. What is Jesus calling us to do?
In today's Gospel there are four parables but I am going to focus two of them. The two parables that go together, I believe are" The Buried Treasure and the Parable of the Pearls. I am going to review these parables and what they could mean to us. In the first parable of the buried treasure, a person found something that was of great value. Scripture does not state what was found but it certainly was deemed of great value. It is important to note that the person was just through a field and not looking specifically for the item. The person just found it. There is no mention what that the person was doing. Was he praying, doing good works, or going to the store. Then wonders of wonders the person reburied this treasure in the ground for safekeeping. To us it would seem like a very strange thing to do. Remember that there were no banks available to put the treasure in a safe deposit box. So he did what all people did at the time, the person buried in the field so no one else could find it. He then went to find out who the owner was so he could buy the land from him. Jesus said that the finder of the treasure was filled with great joy and went about gathering all of his money to buy the property. I too would be filled with great joy but I know I would handle this situation in another way.
Looking at this action from our time and culture I hope we would do things differently. It would be important to find the owner of the property and tell him that a treasure was found and was reburied in his field. This would be the right thing to do. Two people would be filled with great joy because there would be a feeling of good self worth because the owner of the field would be thrilled and perhaps the finder would get a reward.
In this story that Jesus told about the person burying a treasure in the field was not the treasure Jesus meant. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven was like a treasure buried in a field. So what might the Kingdom of Heaven look like?
1. Making sure all of your actions are directed towards the betterment of others and yourself.
2. Focusing on God with all of your strength, your actions, and your mind.
Instead of wanting to buy the field to keep his treasure, his efforts were misdirected. It is not things that develop our relationship with God. It is our attitude about God and our desire to always do what is right is what is needed.
We can still keep our prized objects we have gathered. We can still have our collections of our favorite things. We can even go to garage sales if we like but our main focus is doing what is right in the eyes of God. This is what is meant by the Kingdom of Heaven.
What about this parable of the merchant searching for fine pearls? Jesus said when the merchant finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. The merchant is the person who is out looking for something of great value. He knows what he is looking for and searches it out. The merchant sells all that he owns and buys the finest pearl he found. Is our job to search out the finest objects we can and buy them? Or is our job to search out the Kingdom of Heaven wherever the journey takes us?
The Kingdom of Heaven is making sure all of our actions are directed toward the betterment of others and ourselves. The Kingdom of Heaven is focusing on God with all of our strength, actions, and our mind.
Focusing on the Kingdom of Heaven can seem a daunting task. But we have no need to fear of worry if we cannot do this perfectly. God loves us so much that we are already on our way to the Kingdom.
I found a third parable in my research for this sermon that sums up everything. I would like to tell it to you.
God looked down from the heaven and saw all of us: people already on earth and people not even born yet. God looked at us with much compassion and much love. God saw all her children. God loved us so much that she did not want us to worry about salvation. She knew that everyone of us struggles to do what is right and good: being good parents, being good and caring to the poor and needy, having a good relationship with the Creator, Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit. God decided that to make life easier for us. God sent Jesus, his only child, to die for us and purchase us, the beautiful pearls. We are already bought and saved because of the death of Jesus Christ. We are on a journey but the outcome is assured. Now that is good news.