“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.”
This verse is about trading the temporal for the eternal. The invitation is for people in business, stay-at-home parents, students, and missionaries alike. The treasure hidden in the field represents the joy, peace, and fulfillment that someone can find only in a relationship with the King of heaven. Just as the man in the parable sold all that he had to purchase the field and find the treasure, so too must we be willing to “trade up” the temporal treasures of our lives for the eternal prizes of the kingdom of heaven.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliott.
Elliott was a gifted student and athlete who felt a calling to missionary work at a young age. After studying at Wheaton College, he became a member of the Ecuadorian Missionary Alliance. In 1949, he set off for Ecuador with four other missionaries to evangelize the Huaorani people, who were known for their violent resistance to outsiders.
Tragically, in 1956, Elliott and four of his fellow missionaries were killed by the Huaorani while attempting to make contact with them. Despite the loss of his life, Jim Elliott’s legacy lives on. He is remembered for his unwavering commitment to spreading the gospel and his profound love for the Huaorani people, even in the face of danger.
Jim Elliott’s writings and diary entries have been posthumously published in the book “Through Gates of Splendor,” which has inspired generations of Christians to follow in his footsteps and live out their faith with courage and passion.
Missionaries aren’t the only ones called to “trade up.” In fact, Christians called to the marketplace may have a more difficult path forward. Marketplace followers of Christ stand in the proverbial “Lion’s den,” daily facing pressures to lean into the worldly comforts offered by the 21st century. Jesus makes no distinction; they, too, are called to deny their flesh, take up their cross and follow Jesus.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure speaks to the idea of the joy that comes from finding the kingdom of heaven. Just as the man in the parable was filled with joy when he discovered the treasure, so will we experience true joy and fulfillment when we find the kingdom of heaven and the treasure of a relationship with God. This joy is not dependent on our circumstances or the things we have in our lives.
Allow me to offer three sincere questions for treasure hunters:
- Are you experiencing the exuberant joy spoken of in the parable?
- Are you attempting to hold on to temporary treasure?
- How is the King inviting you to “go all in” with eternal treasure?
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure reminds us that true discipleship requires a complete surrender of our lives and possessions and that the joy of finding the kingdom of heaven is a treasure beyond compare.
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