Thursday, July 19, 2007

God's Treasure

As I meditate more upon God's love in action, which I believe is really the only way we'll ever even begin to walk in it ourselves, a couple more examples that come to mind are based upon two parables.

Steve McVey of Grace Walk Ministries (see his blog), when he was visiting my church a couple of years ago, shed light and opened my eyes to the beauty of God's love demonstrated in the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. I'll put it in my own words below.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt 13:44)

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matt 13:45-46)

I've always, always, always heard that the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price is JESUS, and that we're to sell all we have so that we can have Him. But hold on a minute. How can we purchase what God gives us freely? And to think about it a little further, isn't there a price that Jesus paid so that God could have us? "For God so loved the world (the treasure, the pearls) that He gave His only begotten Son..."

...our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us... (Titus 2:13b-14a)

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all... (1 Tim 2:5-6)

Let's be real about this... Did we ever do a thing to seek out or to earn any of this? "There is no one righteous, no not one..." "There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God."

The pearl of great price. The treasure in the field. Isn't Jesus talking about us? And again, the price that was paid - isn't that what Jesus did? Isn't it Jesus who went looking for the lost sheep? All we can really do is to respond to what He has done for us! We cannot treat it as a debt, because He gave all this to us freely. And even our response is by His grace. How we've forgotten that the coming of Jesus wasn't about what we could do for God, but it was ALL about His love for us, and how He considered us so precious that HE did all this for us!

One of my favorite passages that gets to the heart of God's love in action is found in Philippians 2. We're encouraged to love one another, be of one accord, be of one mind, etc, by looking to the example of Christ:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:5-11)

By all of this we know God's love for us. He demonstrated it fully and perfectly.

When Jesus told the rich young ruler, "sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven," He Himself was in the very process of demonstrating it, by giving up His rights to deity ("selling all He had") and becoming one of us, coming in our likeness, being obedient to the point of death on a cross (giving Himself to us, the "poor")... and ultimately being exalted to the highest place, and receiving the ultimate treasure in heaven...



  1. I like the concept, but it sounds like poor exegesis. I mean the text clearly tells us what the pearl is--it's the kingdom.

    However, there are many other parable that clearly relate the same idea of Jesus treasuring us, even as lost sinners. The lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, etc... We definately need to experience his presence and love in a real way, not just an intellectual understanding of it. How easy it is in the church world to get caught up in the technicalities of religion and miss the beautiful life of relationship with our Father.

  2. Wonderful stuff, Joel. This, like I said before, blew my mind when I first heard it. I mean I get the idea people try to use it for, but it makes no sense when you say we sell all we have and buy the kingdom.

    Jesus said if anyone doesn't simply receive the kingdom as a child would, they will by no means enter it.

    Glory be to God for finding us and buying us back.

  3. Jul,

    Amen, that God's love and presence is a very real thing that we need to (and can) know and experience, rather than it being simply an intellectual understanding!

    As for the two parables, I see Jesus saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like... the examples in these two stories." In other words, "follow the whole parable through to get the message of what the kingdom is like." Not just one thing in the story, but the whole story represents the kingdom of heaven. My personal thought is that, at least in these two parables, we've gotten the characters that the parables represent mixed up.

    But I certainly welcome your view and I'm surely open to differences of understanding and ways of looking at things. Iron sharpens iron, as the proverb goes. :D

  4. Matthew,

    Indeed, we come to Abba, Father as little children. I watch my kids, and I see how simply they see many things, and it makes me look at the Bible and at God in less of a complicated way, and it helps me to rest more and more in the simplicity that is in Christ.