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The Treasure of the Kingdom


In the summer of 2010, a British businessman, Andy Fields, bought an assortment of sketches at a garage sale for $5. Among them was one that bore the signature of Andy Warhol. Investing considerable time and effort to have the work appraised, Fields discovered the sketch was the earliest known work of the legendary American artist and likely worth well over $1 million.

In the stories of such discoveries we might see inklings of parables Jesus tells to illustrate what the kingdom of heaven is like, such as when He compares it to a treasure discovered in a field (v. 44) or to a very fine pearl (v. 45). Fields’s story has several unique elements that highlight important aspects of Jesus’ parables that we might otherwise overlook.

First, discovering such treasures is often more than mere coincidence. As an art collector, Fields had developed eyes to see the promise of his find. Similarly, the treasure that is the kingdom of heaven is one many overlook. Perhaps they dismiss it as something too small to be significant, a nearly invisible and presumably infertile mustard seed (v. 31). Others might be offended by Jesus (11:6). And still others will reject that kingdom’s constitution—in which the poor in spirit are blessed, the peacemakers are God’s children, and the meek inherit the earth (5:3–9)—as unrealistic. We need eyes healed by grace so that we might see the kingdom for treasure that it is.

Second, the kingdom of heaven, like Fields’s find, also requires investment. The true value of the kingdom comes not just when we see it but when we live it, when we are willing to give up even things of great value so that it can be wholly ours.

Apply the Word

Citizenship in the kingdom of heaven is the greatest treasure we can possess. But it is something that we can possess only if we are willing to invest our all in it, even if it means giving up things we regard as having great value. What are the things that you most value? How might you invest them in the kingdom of heaven?

BY Brad Burton

Brad Burton has taught theology and ethics at several theological schools across the country. His writing and teaching focus on the role of the church in helping Christians to proclaim and live the faith. He serves the church in lay ministry and supply preaching, and he enjoys hiking and cycling with his wife and two children.

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