One of the tools Jesus used in his teaching was the parable, a simple story using common everyday circumstances with something to say to his hearers, both then and now. A parable is kind of like an object lesson, and Jesus used them often to illustrate spiritual truths. Some of these parables were short and to the point, while others were longer. Among these shorter parables are what I call the parables of the precious: the parable of the hidden treasure; and the parable of the pearl of great price.
“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.Matthew 13:44-46 NIV
“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.
Like many of Jesus’ parables, both of these start off with the kingdom of heaven is like. These two parables both express the value of the kingdom. In both cases, the man who discovers the treasure performs a Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA), decides that what he has discovered is worth more than all he currently has, and then sells all he has in order to obtain the more valuable item. And what is that treasure? The kingdom of heaven!
The Value of the Kingdom
These parables are almost too easy. They contain just a few words that we are so familiar with that, all too often, they have raced past before we even realize what we have just read. But listen again to what Jesus twice tells us. The man gave up everything he had to obtain the desired treasure. The cost of the treasure was outweighed by its benefit.
Is the treasure of the kingdom worth my giving up everything for it? More precious to me than anything else I have? Is anything in this life more precious to me than the kingdom of heaven?
Jesus calls on me to give up everything to follow him. Not just a few things. Not just the bad things. And not just the things I can live without. But everything!