Years ago a seminary professor wove a gripping modern version of Jesus’ parable of the treasure found hidden in a field. In his version, a metal-detecting hobbyist from the big city stops at what appears to be an old ball field in the foothills. When his metal detector screeches over a large object in the ground, he digs to discover a very large buried trunk. After an hour of working dirt away from the lid, what he sees when he opens it takes his breath away. In my seminary professor’s version, the city-slicker covers it quickly with his mind racing how he can make the field and the treasure his own. Scanning, he sees a wisp of smoke coming from an old cabin on the hill above him, and with pounding heart approaches the door and knocks. When a white-haired mountain man opens the door, he and the treasure-finder have a discussion about the little abandoned ball field down near the road.
The parable of the treasure hidden in the field.
The mountain man owns the field, so so the bargaining begins. The treasure-finder offers the owner all the cash he has. The mountain man accepts, but as they go to shake hands on the deal, asks, ‘What else do you got, boy?” The city-slicker offers to throw in his truck, to which the mountain man replies, ‘That’s the price of the field.” But again, when the city-slicker extends his hand, the mountain man asks, ‘What else you got, boy?” My seminary professor then had his treasure hunter give the mountain man his other toys and the garage and house he put them in, knowing that the treasure in that hidden box was worth so much more than his cash, toys, and house. Before shaking hands on it, the mountain man asked why the city-slicker looked so anxious about the deal. “I am just not sure how I am going to explain all this to my wife and kids” he explained. The mountain man pulled back his hand, smiled, and said, ‘You got a wife and kids, boy…?”
Is Jesus our treasure?
He had me. Jesus’ parable made sense. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who found a treasure hidden in a field, and hid it again, and for joy over it, went and sold all that he had and bought that field.” He liquidated. Does God ask us to put everything we have on the table in exchange for the treasure of knowing Jesus Christ and having him rule and reign through my life? I believe Scripture teaches that he does. Good job, prof.
It is what my professor said next that I now question. He added his own sermon application. In his parable, after the city-clicker realizes he can’t even enjoy his family if he can’t share the treasure he has found with him, he gives the old man his family, too. After an uncomfortable pause, the old mountain man tells him, ‘Son, I don’t need your cash. I own everything you see for as far as you can see. I don’t need your truck and toys and house. I’m perfectly happy up here with what I got. And I don’t need your wife and kids, seeing’ as how I gave them to you in the first place. Just remember who now owns them and keep them available to me iffin’ I need ‘em down the road.”
Is that where Jesus’ parable of the treasure leads? When we put everything on the table, does He let us take it back off and just make it available at His request or does he take some or all of it walk away with just the Treasure? I mean, if our money, our toys, our security, or our human relationships are going to become a barrier to our relationship with Jesus, the Treasure, why would God hand it back?
Is Jesus and our old priorities compatible?
I was told when I was a kid, “FAITH” is described by the acronym, ‘Forsaking All, I Trust Him.’ How many followers of Jesus have you met who have been able to treasure the Treasure and prioritize his Kingdom-purposes for them while still keeping the money and toys and the human relationships in perspective?
I wished my prof had skipped his ending. For most modern followers, I think Jesus’ ending is more accurate. Possessing the Treasure often requires liquidation of our former priorities, not merely new stewardship.
What do you think?