“When he found [a pearl] of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
The kingdom of heaven is like a hidden treasure or a precious pearl. It’s ours, and we have done nothing to earn it. Salvation, eternal life, the overwhelming presence of Jesus in our life—all this is a free gift!
Other rabbis told stories that sounded like these parables of Jesus, but the treasure was always a reward for doing charity or keeping the Sabbath. For example, Abba Judah was a charitable man who sold half of his field and gave the money to the rabbis. In return, they prayed that he would be blessed. When he plowed the rest of the field, his ox fell and broke a leg. But when he bent down to help the ox, he discovered a treasure of jewels.
Another story: Joseph observed the Sabbath with utmost care. Near him lived an unbeliever who owned a pearl of exceptional value. While the unbeliever was traveling over a bridge, a great gust of wind knocked the pearl into the river where it was eaten by a fish. On the eve of the Sabbath Joseph bought this fish from a fisherman. When he prepared the Sabbath dinner, he discovered the pearl that would make him very wealthy.
The treasure that Jesus offers does not demand strict piety, good works, or acts of devotion. It’s free. Life in the kingdom of God is so valuable that it’s worth sacrificing anything for. That is the mystery of life with Jesus—free, but priceless.
Lord, open our eyes to see the value of living with you and for you in the midst of this world. Thank you for this treasure. May we follow you faithfully. Amen.
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