Maine is a beautiful “kingdom” in a beautiful part of the world. Some of Maine’s allure is buried in Aroostook County’s beautiful, rolling fields which yield their treasures as they begin to produce their fruit: oats and barley, potatoes and broccoli , alfalfa and canola.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told a series of parable about the Kingdom of heaven. Among those stories is a short but profound, one verse parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.( Matthew 13:44)
As with all parables, the intent is that one insert oneself into it and discover the personal application. We easily identify with this one because we are all searching for something that we think will be personally rewarding. King Solomon said that God has set “eternity” in or hearts! So, what could be more rewarding than finding the Kingdom of heaven? It seems we were made for that!
The man in the parable undoubtedly was restless and not quite satisfied. He was seeking something of more value than what he had, something that would bring greater meaning or purpose or joy to his life. Maybe, he didn’t know quite what he was looking for but knew it had to exist and was hidden from him; it was not obvious or identifiable or immediately available.
It isn’t clear how long or how far or how hard this fellow looked for this treasure. Maybe he just stumbled upon it! But we do know the treasure was discovered in a specific field. We do know he was a “man”; so, he had the power to reason and decide and choose. Interestingly, upon discovery, he did not act immediately; he “covered (it)up”; he thought about it, considered it. Then “eureka!” The impact of his discovery hit him. He realized, this was it! This was what he had searched for. It was a treasure of such great proportion that he joyfully gave all that he had to attain it. He gave up his old life for a new one! He had found the kingdom of heaven!
Christian faith is like that, isn’t it? It is a process of search and discovery, of seeking and consideration, of coming to believe not only in God but that he holds the treasures of life. For some, there is a prepared heart that receives the immediate reality and impact of the Gospel’s Good News when it is discovered. For others, faith is a long process of revelation and realization, but Jesus had said at the beginning of his ministry that those who “seek will find”, those who “knock” will have the door opened to them to a kingdom where faith is lived out joyfully under God’s authority.
The field in this parable is the world, the treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ once said that one could gain the whole world but lose his soul and that life in the Kingdom is one of self-denial, of taking up one’s cross daily and following Christ, who shows and provides the way into the Kingdom through his teaching and his sacrifice for us. That realization became the reason for our treasure hunter’s commitment.
The Kingdom is waiting to be found by those who will commit to its truths.