Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

08/16/2017

Charles Cash

 

THE GREATEST TREASURE

 

  Treasure! What a fascinating word! We marvel at the continuing stories about the marvelous discoveries of some sort of treasure. I read on-line one such story just today. It might be a discovery in a mountain cave, beneath the sand of a desert, or in the depth of some ocean. Who has not fantasized at some time in his or her life being involved in the discovery of a great treasure? Perhaps a treasure buried on property you bought, or hidden in the wall or attic of a house you just purchased? But that is not very realistic, just a fantasy.

 

  More realistically, if you are a collector, there are some treasures still to be found. Even though there is a saying: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” Of course, all collectors are not interested in the same thing! For the baseball card collector, it might be a 1956 Mickey Mantle Rookie Card. For the collector of musical instruments, it might be a Stradivarius violin or a 1976 Martin D-45 guitar. If you are a collector of first addition books, perhaps your treasure would be a Huckleberry Finn first addition. For the gun collector, your treasure might be a Winchester 73 1 of 1,000 rifle, or an old four-pound Colt Dragoon pistol built by Colt for the Calvary to use from horseback during the Mexican War. Auto collectors would relish finding a 1955 Ford Thunderbird convertible, or a 1974 Maserati Bora. To an art collector, finding a painting by one of the masters, perhaps a Van Gough or a Rembrandt, would be some kind of fantastic treasure. For the furniture collector, a Chippendale Highboy could certainly be an unexpected treasure. What a treasure a vase from the Ming Dynasty would be for a collector.

 

  There are priceless National treasures such as the original drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, both on display under protective glass and armed guards, in Washington D. C., for your viewing. Priceless!

 

  What about the gold Death Mask of King Tut? Priceless!

 

  I mention all of that to whet your appetite and appreciation before saying this: As wonderful as the above treasures might be to different people, there is a treasure that is immeasurably greater, and worth more than all the treasures above put together, or even all the treasures you could possibly imagine! There are twin parables of Jesus that are so brief, simple, self-explanatory, and penetrating, that address this greatest treasure of all.

 

  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew13:44-46)

 

  Treasure in a field sounds valuable and exciting! Ancient people were fascinated with pearls. And people still are. Just to look at them, hold them, and rub them, was a source of great satisfaction. It is reported that Cleopatra had two precious pearls worth $400,000.00 apiece.

 

  The word “kingdom is used in two main senses in the New Testament. The first sense is found in Luke 17:20-21, “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed the kingdom of God is within you.’” The word is used here in the sense of God’s rule in our hearts and lives.

 

  The second meaning of “kingdom” is found in the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew16. After Peter had said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” then Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build My church.”(Verse 18) In the very next verse Jesus said to Peter, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” (Verse 19) Now, Jesus didn’t build one thing and give Peter the keys to something else. It is clear that the word “church” and “kingdom” are used interchangeably. Jesus said to the people during His ministry, “There are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” (Mark 9:1)

 

  It is said of Jesus, “To Him who loved us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father.” (Revelation 1:5-6) When Christ comes again He will “deliver the kingdom to God the Father.” (I Corinthians 15:24)

 

  Here is the punch line! Do we, as Christians, realize what a great treasure we have found? Namely, having the rule of God in our hearts and lives, and being a part of God’s kingdom, the church. This is the greatest of all treasures. And this is the sole thrust of these two short kingdom parables about treasure. Short, but to the point and powerful! Aren’t Christians so rich? Isn’t God great? To Him be the glory forever and ever.Amen!

 

—CHARLES CASH