I love to shop at yard sales. I am not organized enough to get their early, when you kind find the sweetest deals... but I am still a sucker for people selling their used possessions by the side of the road. I always imagine the amazing treasures that might be hidden behind the recycled baby clothing. Sometimes there are treasures. I read recently of a record dealer who bought a used record for 75 cents only to find out it was a rare unreleased first album by an iconic 60's rock band - he sold it on ebay for $155,000. As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure.
In this section Jesus tells six parables to talk about the way we value things. Each of the parables begin with the introduction: "The kingdom of heaven is like..." I won't try to interpret the details of the each one, but instead focus on the common themes that stretch between. Through these parables, Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is small and often overlooked. But it has incredible value. One day it will expand to cover the earth and will culminate in the judgment of the just and the unjust.
Let's zoom in on my favorite parable: Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field (v.44). Kind of like finding a rare record in a yard sale bin. What would you do if you recognized a hidden treasure? Well... Jesus says, you would sell everything to buy it. In a similar manner, God has shown us the all surpassing value of the kingdom of God. It only makes sense for us to invest all of our lives in this kingdom.
Think about the smallness of God's kingdom. It was initiated by a poor, homeless preacher who was crowned with a circlet of thorns and enthroned upon a rough wooden cross. It was spread by fishermen, tax collectors and ex-religious zealots as it took root among the weak and downtrodden (I Cor. 1:26-27.) For us, now, being a Christian does not usually bring worldly fame and glory. In fact, it sometimes puts you in a position of ridicule. But... it is God's kingdom. The resurrection follows the crucifixion and the despised messiah is now the crowned king! The kingdom that appears small and weak will become the rule and reign of God over the entire earth. If God gives you grace to see the reality of the kingdom now - in its smallness - by all means invest everything you have in it. There is no treasure more valuable than the kingdom of heaven.
In what ways are you called to invest in the kingdom of heaven? (With you time, your money, you reputation?)