Today we’re reading Matthew 13. Well…, I already read it but I’ll give you a minute to catch up. Go.
OK, now that we’ve both read Matthew 13 we both know that Matthew recorded some of Jesus’ kingdom parables in this chapter. I preached on the Parable of the Soils (but from Luke) a few Sundays ago. At the end of this devotional I give you a link to the audio & video of that message.
The Parable of the Soils and Christ’s interpretation of it takes up most of this chapter of Matthew, from verse 1 through verse 23. In addition to that parable, we have:
- The Parable of the Weeds (vv. 24-30, 36-43).
- The Parable of the Mustard Seed (vv. 31-32).
- The Parable of the Yeast (v. 33)
- The Parable of the Buried Treasure (v. 44).
- The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price (vv. 45-46)
- The Parable of the Dragnet (vv. 47-50).
The Parable of the Weeds and the Parable of the Dragnet have the same message–many people who look like they belong in Christ’s kingdom and think they belong in it will be excluded from it at the judgment (vv. 40-43, 49-50). The Parable of Buried Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price also have the same message and it is the one I want us to consider today.
These parables are straightforward: a man finds something valuable but under-appreciated so he liquidates everything he has–his house, his farm animals and equipment, his wife’s jewelry, the fillings in his teeth if necessary–to buy the valuable treasure or pearl of great price. And he does it “with joy” (v. 44). Wouldn’t it be a pain to get rid of everything you own and be homeless with just the clothes on your back? Yes it would, unless you were going to get something of greater value than all of that stuff.
This is what Jesus said the kingdom of heaven would be like. It is so priceless, such a treasure, that you and I should give up everything to get it. Of course, the cost of the kingdom is not paid to God. God paid the cost for your entry into the kingdom in Christ because you and I could not do it ourselves. No, the cost Jesus is referring to here is the cost of not going our own way and doing our own thing. If someone gave you an all-expenses paid trip around the world for one year, the trip is a free gift. But to experience that gift you’d have to quit your job. You might have to sell your house because you wouldn’t have any income to pay the mortgage, maintenance, taxes, etc. You would also pay a non-financial cost of missing out on things at home while you are gone. This is what Christians pay for following Christ. When we receive the free gift of salvation, we give up the right to direct our own lives. Jesus is now the boss; he decides what morals we live by and his kingdom dictates the decisions we make with our lives. This is what leads some people to literally sell everything and move to a different city or a foreign country to start churches. They understand the value of the kingdom and the joy and rewards that await so they are less focused on accumulating some material things in this life and more focused on serving Jesus in this life in order to benefit the coming kingdom of Christ.
Maybe God has put a desire in your heart to serve him in some way but the “cost” of doing so seems high. You know you’ll lose some free time that already seems in short supply. Or, you know that it will cost money or that you won’t advance in your career or whatever. Christ here calls us to consider what is truly valuable. His kingdom, his work, is so much more valuable than the cheap plastic trinkets that seem so valuable to us now. Let’s take a few moments and re-assess what we’re living for, what is important, what is worth investing in, and what is worth liquidating for the greater value of serving our Lord Jesus Christ.
If you want to watch or listen to my message on the Parable of the Soils (but from Luke 8), click here.