Any parent can attest to the fact that children have to learn the concept of cost and value. Especially in America perhaps, where a consumerism mentality thrives and is still promoted in advertising even in the midst of a deep recession, children, teens, and some adults, seem oblivious to the fact that something of value is exchanged in every transaction.
With children, examples are endless; ice cream cones at the park, toys at the store, candy in the checkout lane, electronic games, etc. Parents are forever making purchase (value-exchange) decisions for children. With teens, the decisions are sometimes very similar, but the value exchange part of the equation is much, much larger!
I’m convinced that it’s not until we begin to work and earn that we begin to have an internal sense of cost and value-exchange (an internal compass of sorts) that enables us to begin making wise purchase choices. Sadly, it never “clicks” with some folks and they enter adulthood in a state of blissful ignorance with the eyes of a child.
Far from being a spendthrift, it seems that Matthew is writing about an adult who has learned the concept of value-exchange even though this person is willing to exchange all that he owns for a single field. Of course it’s not just any field; it is a field containing great treasure in the purchaser’s eyes; a treasure that he saw even as others walked past and overlooked. I can’t help but imagine people casually walking past the same field everyday and seeing nothing of particular value in it.
Now, just for a moment, imagine people walking past our churches and seeing nothing of particular value; no reason to darken the doors. Imagine people ignoring Jesus and seeing nothing of value in a relationship with him. Imagine casually walking past the person of whom God the Father commanded “...Let all God’s angels worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6 ESV) It happens every day with alarming frequency. We worship the red carpet. We are attracted (some would say distracted) by the latest, glitziest bit of bling that Hollywood and media dangles before us, all the while ignoring the person that even angels are commanded to worship.
Permit me two observations while emphasizing that this passage is about the treasure; not the church per se. First, the church today (at least in America) appears to be doing a pretty good job of holding the status quo; of keeping its members content and entertained. But, secondly, she also appears to be doing a poor job of revealing her treasure, her head; Jesus Christ. That is to say that the church is failing in its calling to make disciples (followers of Jesus) of all nations.
Christ exchanged his life for your eternal life. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s moving in our midst to reveal the treasure of Jesus.