The Treasure is Close
- May 04, 2016
- Tommy Brown
Children find treasure everywhere: a sparkly section of a rock = crystal; an old piece of metal with a point = ancient arrowhead. This one rock is special. This one arrowhead, a superior weapon among all others. They’ll bury those treasures in their toy chests amidst stuffed rabbits and a full arsenal of plastic weaponry. When they need the treasure, they know where to find it. One day, they’ll grow up. Treasure becomes trash. Rocks return to rocks. Sticks are thrown out, burned at best. They’ll have books to study, jobs to seek, families to raise. The future lures them with siren songs of success away from their once deeply desired treasures. When they’re older, they’ll seek solace in a simple stick to lean upon, a smooth rock that reminds them of stone skipping days at the water’s edge.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a person found and covered up. Then, in joy, the person goes and sells everything and buys the field (Jesus, Matthew 13:44).
In Jesus’s stories, the kingdom was never far away—it never is today.
Jesus tells these amazing stories about what the kingdom is like because it’s tough to describe as one thing. He deploys similes and metaphors like a poet. It’s like a treasure in a field that, once found, is worth selling everything else to acquire. In another parable, the kingdom is like a merchant seeking fine pearls who, upon finding one of immense value, sells all others to buy this one pearl of great price. Sometimes the kingdom is like what you find, sometimes it is like the finder finding what she finds.
A person walks in a field and finds treasure. A merchant searches for pearls and hits the jackpot. Neither sailed to faraway lands to find their treasure. It’s right in front of their face, buried beneath their next step, nestled within their evening walks, their professional pursuits.
The kingdom was there all along, very close. Very right in front of your nose. Right in the middle of your normal everyday meanderings and wanderings. Right in the middle of your day job.
Right in the middle of your office cube. Your commute. Your studies.
In other words, you’re closer to your treasure than you think if you have ears to hear the whisper directing you, eyes to see what’s in plain view just beyond the thin veneer of all the marketing that bids for your attention.
And, once you find the treasure, the kingdom, this life in light of God where God gets God’s way, everything else takes on a new value. You see life for what it is. Even what you buy and sell is reoriented; your money takes on new meaning, has new value in light of kingdom-seeing, is directed toward what matters most.
The kingdom is not way out there. It’s in the dirt you walk everyday, in the middle of your daily commerce. The kingdom is more about opening your awareness than traveling to a faraway land, even a faraway land in the great beyond.
There’s treasure buried in your next conversation, in your next assignment, in a child’s face.
You’ll have to sell off the notion that you have to grow up and stop searching for treasure. I suppose that you’ll have to become childlike and see arrowheads in sticks, crystals in rocks.