Summary: Being part of the kingdom of heaven, being a disciple of Jesus Christ, is worth whatever sacrifice one has to make
DAN: Hi, Ryan, is there something I can do for you?
RYAN: Oh, no, but there is something I can do for you!
DAN: What's that?
RYAN: Well, I am holding in my hand a ticket for the Packer/Viking game at the dome on Monday night, December 20.
DAN: Oh, wow! Are you serious?
DAN: Boy, this is great. That game has been sold out for months. I really appreciate you getting that ticket for me. It will be a great game. Thanks a lot, Ryan!
RYAN: Um, Dan, I can't just give you the ticket.
DAN: Oh, I'm sorry. What do you need? Thirty or forty bucks?
RYAN: No, I was thinking a bit more than that.
DAN: Well, what do you need? Just name your price. $50? $75? $100?
RYAN: No, that won't do it.
DAN: Well, how much do you want?
RYAN: Dan, I want everything you have.
DAN: Everything I have! What do you mean?
RYAN: Everything. Your house, your car, your books, your clothes, your computer, your TV, all the money you have in the bank and in the 401K.
DAN: You want everything I have for that one ticket?
RYAN: Well, I'll let you keep the clothes you're wearing, and one Packer sweatshirt to wear to the game.
DAN: You must think I'm crazy!
RYAN: Hey, I'm not asking for your wife and kids, just all your material possessions.
DAN: For one football ticket? I love my Green Bay Packers, but I just don't know if it is worth it. But, I don't know where else I could get a ticket for that game. OK, it's a deal. I'll give you everything I have for the ticket. When do I have to give you the stuff?
RYAN: Hey, I'm in no hurry. I'll come over this afternoon and you can sign over the deed to your house and the title to your car. I'll just pick up the other stuff on Monday. Will the church be open so I can get the books out of your office?
DAN: Yeah, I'll see that it is unlocked.
RYAN: OK, I'll get everything tomorrow and then give you the ticket. (They shake hands.)
DAN: Ryan, it's been good to do business with you.
RYAN: Oh, don't mention it. I'm sure we'll both be very happy with this deal. I've got to go. I'll see you this afternoon to sign those papers.
Do you folks think I'm crazy? I hope you do. A person would have to be insane to give up everything for one lousy football ticket. But, this little fictional skit reminds me of a story which Jesus told about a man who was willing to give up everything he had, not for a football ticket, but for a pearl. In this case, however, Jesus does not ridicule the man for his decision, but essentially congratulates him. That may seem a bit strange, but when we start to understand the message of this story, I believe we start to understand the heart of what it means to be a Christian. Our text today is Matthew 13:44-46. We are going to explore two very brief parables, one featuring a hidden treasure and the other a valuable pearl. As we look at God's Word today, let's pray the Lord would help us understand what these parables mean and most of all what they mean for our lives.
The two stories which Jesus tells really make the same point. It appears to be Jesus' way of emphasizing the importance of what He is saying. The first is the parable of the hidden treasure. Matthew 13:44 "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." This is a situation a lot of folks dream about. The man just happens to find a treasure of some type. Whether it is coins, jewelry or some other type of valuables, we don't know, but it was quite a find. In 1st Century Palestine, people no doubt buried valuables to protect their wealth, but to find a treasure which someone had forgotten would happen only once in a thousand lifetimes. It would have been stealing for the man to simply take the treasure home, but by hiding it again and buying the whole field, the treasure now belongs to him. Jesus does not endorse this as ethical conduct. He simply says it is what happened. The point is that the man made a great deal. Let's say the field had a market value of $1,000. The man sells all of his modest possessions and gets $2,000. He uses that money to buy the field and the fellow who owned the field thinks he is getting a great deal. But, in reality, the man now has a field worth $1,000 and a treasure worth $100,000. Giving up all he had to make that purchase was a great move.