The website Baseball History Daily relates an incredible story about a game played in Rhyolite, Nevada, one of the great boom towns of the early 20th Century.
It was June of 1905 and the local team was playing the team from nearby Beatty. Rhyolite’s William Griffith was playing first base when a ground ball was hit to him. Instead of an easy out, the ball struck a small stone and bounced away. While waiting for the ball to be returned by a spectator, Griffith picked up the stone to toss it off the field but noticed it had gold in it. So, he put it in his pocket.
Later that night Griffith returned with the aid of lantern and found more of the valuable “rocks.” According to the wire service report, “A mine shaft was sunk on the spot of Griffith’s find and discovered to be part of a large deposit of gold.” As a result, Griffith became a wealthy man.
Wouldn’t we all like to make a similar discovery?
In Matthew 13, Jesus tells a story that speaks to a wealth greater than gold. The parable of the hidden treasure. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt 13:44)
While that parable sounds unrealistic, it is no less a possibility than the true story of William Griffith. Palestine was in constant danger of invading armies. If conquered, one’s house would not be a safe hiding place for treasure. There were no banks. No safe deposit boxes. The safest place was the ground. Barclay writes, “There was a Rabbinic saying that there was only one safe repository for money—the earth.”
While the man stumbled upon the treasure, apparently he was an honest man going about his business. He doesn’t steal the treasure but liquidates all of his assets to buy the field. It was expensive. But worth it.
Jesus’ point is simple. That’s what the Kingdom of heaven is like. No expenditure is too much. No price is too expensive. No sacrifice is too great. Salvation in Christ is worth whatever it costs us. The spiritual blessings in Him are worth far more than anything we may have to give up.
Yes, to acquire citizenship in the kingdom of heaven and enjoy its attendant benefits and blessings you may have to give up your material treasure. It will demand time and effort. Your personal convenience will be disrupted. Creature comforts may need to be sacrificed. Secular plans may need to be discarded. Some of your former friends may be left behind. It could even separate you from your own family.
Missionary Jim Elliott, was right, “He is no fool – who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”
When you consider the worth of the Kingdom, no command is too difficult. No duty is too demanding. And no responsibility is too restricting. Discipleship. Ministry. Worship. Fellowship. And Evangelism. These are not burdens to be born. But joyful opportunities we are privileged to participate in.
When we consider the wonderful blessing we share together in spiritual communion with Christ, is it too much to change? To give up bad habits? To deny fleshly desires? To develop the fruit of the Spirit? To become like Christ?
If you’ve found this field with its invaluable treasure, don’t look back. Don’t think twice. Don’t walk away. Don’t miss this golden opportunity.
“Buy the truth, and do not sell it.” (Prov 23:23).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman