A first-century Hebrew walks alone on a hot afternoon, staff in hand. His shoulders are stooped, sandals covered with dirt, tunic stained with sweat. But he doesn’t stop to rest. He has pressing business in the city.
He veers off the road into a field, seeking a shortcut. The owner won’t mind – travelers are permitted this courtesy. The field is uneven. To keep his balance he thrusts his staff into the dirt.
Thunk. The staff strikes something hard.
He stops, wipes his brow, and pokes again.
Thunk. Something’s under there, and it’s not a rock.
The weary traveler tells himself that he can’t afford to linger. But his curiosity won’t let him go. He jabs the ground. Something reflects a sliver of sunlight. He drops to his knees and starts digging.
Five minutes later, he’s uncovered it – a case fringed in gold. By the looks of it, it’s been there for decades. Heart racing, he pries off the rusty lock and opens the lid.
Gold coins! Jewelery! Precious stones of every color! A treasure more valualble than anything he has ever imagined.
Hands shaking, the traveler inspects the coins, issued in Rome over seventy years ago. Some wealthy man must have buried the case and died suddenly, the secret of the treasure’s location dying with him. There is no homestead nearby. Surely the current landowner has no clue that the treasure’s here.
The traveler closes the lid, buries the chest, and marks the spot. He turns around, heading home – only now he’s not plodding. He’s skipping like a little boy, smiling broadly.
What a find!Unbelievable! I’ve got to have that treasure! But I can’t just take it – that would be stealing. Whoever owns the field owns what’s inn it. But how can I afford to buy it? I’ll sell my farm…and crops…all my tools…my prize oxen. Yes, If I sell everything, that should be enough!
From the moment of his discovery, the traveler’s life changes. The treasure captures his imagination, becomes the stuff of his dreams. It’s his reference point, his new center of gravity. The traveler takes every new step with this treasure in mind. He experiences a radical paradigm shift.
He or She who has ears to hear, let them listen!
44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.