“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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” – Matthew 13:44-46
I love the total joy in these verses. A man finds a treasure in a field, reburies it, and then goes to buy the field so he can have the treasure. He goes in joy. He goes knowing that he has stumbled across one of the greatest finds of all time. He immediately takes action to acquire it (legally).
Note that while we see these gentlemen selling everything that they own, we don’t catch even the slightest hint of “sacrifice.” They both view the new treasure as exceedingly more valuable than all of their possessions. They don’t even stop to quibble about pricing – figuring that if everything they own is enough to seal the deal then it is well worth the cost.
It is also noteworthy that these men were out looking for their respective treasures. Having found what they were looking for – and found it to be far more valuable than they imagined – they used all available means to acquire it.
Now, it is clear (because He says so) that the Lord is talking about the kingdom of heaven. He is pointing out that when people who are seeking God truly come to understand the value of the kingdom of heaven – eternity, mercy, forgiveness, grace, atonement, healing, love, hope, peace … that they don’t even blink when it comes to value comparisons with the status quo in their lives.
The story also teaches us something about value in general. There are things in your life that you prize above others. Things that you would gladly trade away everything you own to preserve or maintain. Most people think of a spouse and children in this way, or perhaps friends, siblings, or parents. When it comes to these relationships, we don’t often let trivial things stand in our way. We aren’t nearly as concerned about money or status or anything of that sort when it comes into friction with a relationship with a loved-one.
Because I enjoy talking about politics, I’d like to say that this principle can also apply to our governing philosophy. There are things that are so intrinsically important to us, that the rest fades away. Issues that we prize so much that we barely even notice the rest of a politician’s campaign platform as long as they show us that they value our issue(s). Regardless of which issues these are, they are certainly non-negotiables.
For me the issue is freedom, as the title of the blog might suggest. I believe so firmly that the proper role of government is collective defense of individual rights, allowing freedom in all else; that all other issues fade away. Whether a politician favors a tax increase or tax cut matters a little – but not nearly as much as whether they support or oppose my freedom.
To trade this away for some minor economic benefits or to assuage a guilty conscience would be unthinkable – especially after so many men have died to allow its very existence. Once the freedom is gone it won’t be coming back. Once rule of your life has been surrendered you are unlikely to receive it back safe and sound.
So figure out what your valuable pearls are. I certainly hope the kingdom of heaven is at the top of that list – but in all phases of life we can grasp that there are non-negotiables. Grab hold of these and don’t back down. The world is better off with people who know where they stand and are resolute in their defense of principle.