Jesus told these parables: 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.
In this short parable of Jesus, the emphasis seems to be on what the person does when he finds the treasure in the field. The man “went and sold all he had and bought the land” where he had found a treasure. So Jesus seems to indicate that if we want to take hold of the treasure that God wants to give us we must give up all that we have, our whole self and invest it into the treasure. We simply can’t search for the meaning of our life with a fragment of ourselves. And, when we discover what God wants us to see our treasure we must invest all or nothing. That gets a bit scary for us sometimes. We wonder if it is too risky to do an all out giving of everything we have when we consider what all that we have has already cost us. When I look at this brief parable it seems that the key resides in the immense joy this man had when he found the hidden treasure.
When I felt God calling me to become a pastor I had just filled out the paperwork for an advancement from associate professor to professor of Health Education at Texas A&M University. I was looking forward to the professional advancement in several ways. However, as I worked alongside my husband and ten other families in the establishment of a mission church during the six years leading up to that moment, I could not escape the treasure of answering God’s call that seemed to appear blocking the pathway to professorship. I gave up my position at the University and went to seminary. It was a scary time for me and our family, but I could not ignore the call.
When God reveals to us where he calls us to invest our lives we discover an authentic joy. Then our valued attachment to other things slacks off, and our priorities change. Then we are ready to let our whole lives be changed in a way we could not foresee, or understand, before that, and which we could not have possibly directed by our will-power.
God, gives each of us a hidden treasure, not because of our efforts, but because God loves us and has a dream of what we can do with this treasure. Sometimes it is only when we unexpectedly trip over the treasure that we realize its worth and is what we wanted all along. It was a dream buried deep within us that we never thought would be possible, and so we would not let it rise to the surface of our thoughts to seek it.
This brief story of Jesus indicates that God has the “hidden treasure” of his kingdom for each of us to find. We simply must be open to risk finding the hidden joy it will bring.
- In what way is your faith like a treasure buried that you dig up unexpectedly?
- Do you identify with the person who finds a treasure unexpectedly?
- Have you ever experienced a joy which changed your priorities, and caused you to be less attached to things which were previously important to you?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.