“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
— Matthew 13:44
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
— 1 Corinthians 1:18
Somewhere in tons of trash at the Sioux Falls landfill is a candy wrapper that could be worth $2 million.
But the mayor won’t allow anyone to dig around for it.
Tim and Shirley Garrett said their teenage son accidentally threw away the winning wrapper in the Snickers NFL Shockwave MVP game. Mrs. Garrett said she was disappointed but would try to keep the incident in perspective. “We’ve got each other,” she said tearfully. “It’s all right. Life will go on.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 teaches us that the “message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” Only Christians value Christ as the ultimate treasure. Those outside of the Christian community have chosen to value other things more than Christ. The cross of Christ is foolishness or worthless trash. However, we believe that, above everything else this world has to offer, Christ is to be cherished, prized and sought after relentlessly.
The passage above from Matthew tells us that the treasure we have in Christ’s Kingdom is hidden. So was the treasure contained in the Snickers wrapper. The Garretts’ teenage son was doing what he thought was a good thing by cleaning up the kitchen, washing the dishes and throwing away the trash sitting on the kitchen counter. Little did he know that the wrapper, placed there by his parents the night before, would grant his family the right to participate in a $2 million dollar contest during halftime at the Super Bowl. The value was not obvious.
This passage doesn’t only teach us that the treasure is hidden, but that it is costly. The investment was front-end loaded. It cost the man everything he had! The cost of following Jesus is often soft sold in modern churches. This is a problem, because we ask people to embrace Christianity (the Christian culture) without ever considering the value of Christ. If they don’t see the treasure that is received, then they will ultimately bemoan the sacrifice they made. Perhaps John Piper said it best: “A non–treasured Christ is a non-saving Christ.” If he is not treasured, then there will be no commitment — and no salvation.
To me, the most interesting part of the passage is the little phrase “in his joy.” Despite the cost, the man was fully convinced of the land’s value. Are you? When we buy into a relationship with Christ, we are not making a hasty investment. We ought to rejoice that we have been granted the right to be in relationship with the creator of this universe. When you and I receive the kingdom of heaven and Christ, it is not a burden. It is a privilege.
You may not have much to be happy about today, but if you follow Christ, then you can have joy — joy that this Christ, who deserves to be treasured, treasures you!
This is where our current series, Prized, turns everything upside down. Truthfully, virtually every religion in the world honors the god that it claims to embrace. Christianity, however, is the only religion where this God actually values those who have the potential to treasure him, even before the subjects begin the treasuring.
Once we understand this reality, we can earnestly respond to his call in joy. Because it is only then that we can finally see how valuable this salvation, and more importantly this Savior, really is.