Summary: The question isn't what is the treasure. The question is what is the Kingdom like? The answer is: a treasure
It is a serendipitous story, which is a story about serendipity. Serendipity, isn’t that a great word? It is probably one of my favourite words. You know what serendipity means right? Serendipity means an unexpected discovery. You know when you are looking for something and you find something else. You know you drop the remote between the cushions on the coach and when you are digging around looking for them you discover a twenty dollar bill instead. Whoa, that is serendipity. If you find an old pizza crust that isn’t serendipity it simply means you have kids.
It sometimes happens to me when I am reading; I will be enjoying a novel, kind of zoned out, I read fiction for the same reason we watch TV, for entertainment not enlightenment. And then all of a sudden I will come across the most incredible phrase or an idea for a message. And that wasn’t what I was looking for. It is serendipity.
And this is a serendipitous story. The hero of the story is working in a field that he does not own, we don’t know if he was hired to do whatever he was doing or if he was helping someone out as a favour. All we know is that in the process of doing something he unexpectedly found something and the something that he found was of greater value than the something he was doing or even of the field he was doing something in.
We are told that he immediately covered the treasure up, went and liquidated all of his assets and bought the field, and presumably the treasure as well. I don’t know how he explained his sudden affinity for the field to the previous owner but it is just a story.
This is one of the eight times in the New Testament that Jesus begins a parable with the words “The Kingdom of Heaven” or “The Kingdom of God” is like a . . . A parable is simply a story with a meaning. Kind of like a fable but parable sounds more spiritual. Aesop told fables, Jesus told parables. They could also be called allegories, but they aren’t they are called parables.
If you weren’t here last week, shame on you, but I will bring you up to speed. Our summer preaching series is: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like. . .” and we are tying it around the concept of the Inukshuk. The Inukshuk of course is one or several stones placed in a specific place for a specific purpose, traditionally by the Inuit people. Which when you think about it is kind of redundant because Inuit means: The People.
In Inuktitut Inukshuk means “likeness of a person” Inuk meaning person and shuk meaning similar. Most of us are familiar with the Heritage Canada Commercials where the Inuit family explains the Inukshuk to the Mountie by saying “Now the people will know we were here” but the reality is that the inukshuk was used for a variety of reasons, to provide landmarks in a barren land, to act as direction markers and to warn of danger. Many of the same reasons that Christ left the church here, so that people would know that he was here, to provide landmarks in a morally barren land, to act as direction markers and to warn of danger.
And now we begin our journey to discover what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. And so Jesus begins to draw a variety of pictures which describe his Kingdom. Matthew 13:44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
And you might be smarter than me, and this might make perfect sense to you but these thirty six words make me ask a whole pile of questions. What was the man doing in the field? How did he find the treasure? What type of treasure was it? Was what he did entirely on the up and up? What is actually buried on Oak Island? Well the last question didn’t come out of the scripture but it had to do with treasure and the scripture made me think of the Oak Island Treasure. I personally am torn between it being Captain Kidd’s treasure and the lost treasure of the Knights Templar. But I regress.
The answer to most of those questions, including the Oak Island one is that we don’t know. And it obviously wasn’t important or Christ would have told us, it’s just a parable. The important part of the story is that the man found something he wasn’t necessarily looking for and was willing to give all he had in order to obtain it.