Summary: Sermon on the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Value. Matthew 13: 44-46
This weeks sermon is about the parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value. We may think that these things have nothing for us, after all, who actually believes in hidden treasures these days? I mean, really? Stories of gold coins and jewels in shipwrecks, or hidden by someone that didn’t trust a bank? Well as it turns out, after a bit of research, hidden treasures are closer than you think, and they are being found a lot more these days. Let me give you a few examples.
In 2007 just off the coast of the Dominican Republic, in 10 feet of crystal clear water, one of Captain Kidd’s ships was found. It was 300 years old and full of gold, silver and jewels.
Also in 2007, off the coast of Spain, the Black Swan shipwreck was discovered by a company from Florida. It held 17 tons of silver and gold coins. Estimated value, about half a billion dollars.
In 2009, 350 lbs of roman coins were found on a farm in England, by two men. Each will share the value of the coins and should get at least 1 million dollars each. Now you may be thinking, these might be true, but they are so far away from here. Here we are in California, no shipwrecks, no gold coins… well you would be mistaken. As it turns out, there are treasures buried around California that haven’t been found yet. Even shipwrecks, near here, near the desert.
I bet you didn’t know there were gold coins hidden near the town of Isabella in Kern County? That’s about 60 miles away.
Somewhere on Owens Lake, in 1882 the S.S. Mollie Stevens sank. It was a ship filled with Gold and silver Bullion. That Lake has since dried up, but the gold and silver are buried in the mud somewhere and have never been found.
Somewhere on the Santo Theresa Ranch near San Jose, lies the hidden treasure of a French Saddle Maker. It was his life’s fortune. He buried it and it too has never been found.
And that brings up a great point. What is with the idea of burying your fortune? Well it turns out, in Biblical times, it was the smartest thing to do.
Armies moved back and forth, cities were taken and taken again. Each time, the houses were searched by soldiers for loot that they could use to pay their armies. So it wasn’t such a good idea to keep your money, your gold or silver or anything of value, lying around your house. So instead, people would just bury their money in their field. Of course you couldn’t tell anyone where you buried it. They could steal it, or a soldier could interrogate them and they would tell where it was, sooner or later. SO do you know what happened in many cases? People would be killed in a war, or die suddenly from natural causes, and their treasure, would be forgotten, there in a field. If the family needed money, the field would be sold, not knowing what was lying beneath it.
It happened so often in fact that rules were made about whoever found that treasure. So in this parable, at first we might think, why did the person keep the treasure? Wouldn’t that be dishonest? Why not give it back to the land owner? Well, it turns out, usually the land owner didn’t know it was there at all. So today we still know the rule they used in Biblical times concerning found treasure. It’s called… Finders keepers. No kidding, that is where it came from. As it turns out the man who found the treasure was even being more than honest, because he could have just taken it with him. But instead, he realizes, it could be stolen from me, I could be robbed along the way. So he doesn’t even take a little of the money. He sells everything he has, and buys that field. This solves everything. He is a very honest man, and he now knows where his treasure is buried, in his own field.
He has realized that he found it honestly, he has taken care of it, and kept it safe and he realizes how valuable it really is. All of these reasons are perfect examples of how you and I should feel about the greatest gift of all, Eternal Life.
What exactly is Eternal Life worth to you? A million dollars? 50 million dollars? Be honest with yourself for just a minute and we begin to see where our thinking going wrong. If you could buy it, which you can’t, but if you could, would you give up that sort of treasure for Eternal Life? The men in the parable that Jesus tells, they know. They know the value of what they found. A treasure that is much more valuable than anything else the man owns. And a pearl that is more valuable than any other pearl the man has ever seen.