Matthew 13:44 – 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. (NIV)
As Halloween arrives, the stores are full of costumes. I like the pirate ones that come out every year. They're not as scary as some ugly ones which glorify gore and violence. Pirates are like your lovable rogues who say "ooooh" and "aaaargh" a lot. They might have once been the scourge of the seven seas, but these days, pirates are funny and outrageous.
Ever since I read Treasure Island by the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, I've been fascinated with pirates. Then when I saw Robert Newton play Long John Silver on the silver screen, that clinched it for me. I dearly loved his acting — it was way over the top.
In the movies and books, pirates are motivated by two things: plunder and treasure. They're either battling it out with galleons filled with Spanish doubloons or looking for a deserted isle on which to bury their sought-after treasure. I guess that we have Robert Louis Stevenson to thank for that! All pirates are totally committed to protecting their treasure. It means everything to them, and they will risk their lives trying to keep it.
But what's all of this got to do with today's passage? Well, it seems Jesus wanted us think of the kingdom of heaven as a great treasure that we discover in our lives, which has to be protected. It's a gift from God that we should cherish and not take for granted. Far too often people think that the kingdom of heaven is a "given" in their lives, something that will be bestowed upon them no matter who they are or what they've done. But it isn't — the kingdom of heaven is a priceless treasure, and unless we look after it, we can lose it.
Jesus wants all of us to find this treasure in our lives. He's given us clues in the holy Scriptures and gospel teachings about how to find it. We have to dig it out for ourselves and discover His truth, His way, and His life. If we think for a moment that we can make up our own truth, go our own way, and live our own life, and then receive the kingdom of heaven, we haven't been listening to Him or reading His clues properly.
To receive this treasure, we've got to give Christ our hearts. To enjoy His kingdom, we've got to submit to His will and become His servants. Any other way is false and only ends up shipwrecking souls.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant us the priceless gift of Your kingdom in our lives. Help us to look beyond our own thinking in order to take that leap of faith, that time of transformation which will lead us to Your treasure. Give us the courage to talk to our families and friends, so that they will also receive this eternal and exclusive gift. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.