Author: Mark Whitters, a member of Detroit Community Outreach, a community of disciples on mission in Detroit, Michigan.
In the book of Matthew it says, “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. 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.” (Matthew 13:44-46)
What if these two short parables are about God in pursuit of the human race in general and of you in particular? In the case of the treasure the man discovers in the field, say, a vein of gold he finds in the soil, he is so happy that nothing matters except that field! He keeps his discovery secret until he puts together all his resources to buy the field. He could have bought any other field and it could have been much cheaper, but now he sells everything in order to own this plot of ground where he unexpectedly found gold. Are we also unexpectedly glimpsing a mystery about how God loves us?
And what if such a mystery leads us to consider God as a connoisseur of jewels with access to all the most precious materials in the world? So, among all the talented and gifted people of the earth, among the billions of possibilities, he decided you were the one he wanted? Again this connoisseur of the best and finest gives up everything to obtain you!
The analogy is imperfect—how can God be surprised at what he created, or how can God overlook all the other human beings in the world? But it does suggest in mind-blowing ways how parables actually help the disciples continue in the footsteps of Jesus, who sacrificed so much to acquire us.
Remember that this whole workshop on the seven parables is really about riddles, secrets, and insights that go back to the “foundation of the world,” the very reason for creation. Remember that the common interpretation might not be the only one. Remember that the parables refer to mysteries.
Ask yourself today: “In these two short parables - of the treasure hidden in a field and the pearl - what can I learn about mysteries of God that go back to the ‘foundation of the world?’”
Scripture quotations from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, ©1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, ©2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.