Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 1
In this life we are all treasure-hunters: we were created with a deep inner longing for something—Someone—and we will never be truly satisfied until that void is filled. Countless times throughout Scripture we are told to "seek the Lord"—to make Him our only quest in life; our only Treasure. Once we have caught a glimpse of His holiness, His power, His love, His mercy, His patience, and a bit of His glory, we will begin to realize that He alone is what we need. He Himself is our Treasure: not His gifts or blessings or promises or all He does for us. He alone is all we need. It's at that point of realization that we must joyfully go, sell all we have, and buy the field.
What are we to sell? The answer is right in the verse: all that we have. Everything! That includes our "rights," our reputation, our pride and ambition, our plans and hopes for the future—all must be handed over to the Lord with no reservation, no strings attached. It's one thing to do this as a theoretical mental exercise...it is quite another when we realize the sacrifice means giving up dreams which are very dear to our heart: we cling to them with sweaty, trembling fingers, fearful to let go.
But Jesus is always patiently asking the timeless question: "Lovest thou Me more than these?" We reply with a faltering, "Yes, Lord, Thou knowest I love Thee..." And He gives us the strength not just to submit, but to joyfully buy the field.
As we walk out over our property, it's hard not to be dismayed as we are faced anew with the bleakness of the land. It is not a beautiful meadow filled with flowers, song birds, and shady corners: it is a wind-swept and barren wilderness, ugly and dead. "Why, Father," we cry, "why must my field be like this? It is so miserable and not at all what I would choose. Why can't I have a field that looks more like that one over there, with green grass, streams, and trees?" His gentle answer is full of love: "My child, it is because this very field is the only place in which you will be able to find the Treasure of knowing Me. I chose it just for you."
So we have nothing left to do but to kneel down there in the middle of the wilderness, thanking Him for His love and asking mercy for our doubtings. And it's while we're yet on our knees, humble before Him, that our eyes are caught by a bit of color in the grass: sheltered from the wind behind a large rock, one of the weeds has bravely put forth a tiny blossom. As we look closer we notice the rainbows held captive in the dewdrops, and the sparkle of sunlight reflected in the sandy dirt. There is beauty, even here in the wilderness, if we just look for it!
With a lightened heart, we rise again and begin the daunting, yet terribly thrilling task of Treasure-seeking: the quest to know our Father for who He really is, and to become more and more like Him. We know the Treasure is here because God has said so—and we've had a glimpse of its glorious beauty.
The days pass into weeks, and as we keep seeking we begin finding bits of Treasure here and there around the field. Often it seems to be hidden in the most unlikely places, but when we are sincerely, diligently seeking, we always are rewarded with at least a tiny gem. We also slowly learn to recognize the Treasure when we find it. Sometimes we come across what appears to be a dirty stone, and it isn't until we examine it more closely that we realize it is really a diamond waiting to be cut and polished. We sadly wonder how many other jewels we have tossed aside simply because they did not meet our expectations.
There are days when the wind howls fiercely and the dust rises around us in choking clouds so we can hardly tell which way is up. Other days the sun beats down mercilessly and we cast longing glances at neighboring fields which have beautiful shade trees and green grass. Yet God gives us grace to not be weary in well doing and He miraculously provides for our every need; strength for every day's tasks.
As time passes, we are more attuned to the snatches of beauty that we come across each day; even the perfection of a weed's tiny seed pod can bring a smile to our face when it reminds us of the faithfulness of the One who created it. We also begin to develop a strange affection for our field, as every corner of it is associated with the Treasure we've discovered. That rocky ravine is where we nearly fell as we reached far down for a gem; the corner over there is where we dug all day in the pouring rain before finding one tiny jewel (but, oh, how beautiful!). We are able to see a glimpse of our Father's infinite wisdom in choosing this very field for us...and we're so thankful He didn't accept our desperate pleas for a trade-in.
Then, one day, as we are intent on the daily Treasure hunt, we feel a shadow fall across our face. Looking up, we see a majestic fir tree towering above us—and a whole grove of pines and cedars beyond. The sound of running water draws us further into the trees and we see a lovely little stream and waterfall, surrounded by wild flowers. The sunshine peeks through the trees, the breeze is warm and gentle, and the birds are singing joyfully. 2
Overwhelmed by the beauty, we have to close our eyes for a moment. Could this bit of heaven really be in our very own field? It is far more wonderful and perfect than our most precious dreams had imagined. We raise questioning eyes to our Father: what has happened here? He replies with a gentle smile, "Do you not remember, child, My promise that those who delight in Me will receive the desires of their heart? Those who seek Me first will find Me...and everything else will follow." 3
All we can do is bow before Him in worship, crying, "Father, Thy way was right!" As our heart bursts into a song of praise, we remember His promise that has come down through the ages:
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her...the valley of Achor [Trouble] for a door of hope: and she shall sing there... 4
A fellow pilgrim,