The Real Treasure

Matthew 13: 44-46
Jer 15:10,16-21 / Psa 59

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
(Matthew 13:44)

The hidden treasure that we seek
Needs but few moments of our time,
To read of Whom the prophets speak,
Our Savior Jesus, Lord sublime.

“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. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)

Reflection

This parable of the hidden treasure reminds me of an incident that happened during the days of martial law in Surigao del Norte near the Tago river in a government irrigation project. The backhoe operator of a private contractor dug up a jar full of antique gold trinkets. He immediately covered up his find with soil, and pretended that his backhoe was having some mechanical problem so that he could render overtime work. In the cover of darkness, the employee unearthed his discovery and promptly vanished. It was later discovered that the whole field traversed by the irrigation canal was a treasure trove of pirates who regularly raided Spanish galleon ships during colonial times, using Tago river as their hiding place. The military swiftly cordoned the area and sequestered the treasure trove. That backhoe operator could have gotten more than just one jar of gold if he had only acted with more prudence.

Most of us lose our good judgment when sudden fortune comes upon us. In some cases the ‘treasure’ even turns out to be a misfortune in disguise. The sixteen million pesos that a taxi driver won in the lottery cost him his life when after a week of heavy partying, gunmen broke into his house to rob him. A couple who inadvertently received an overseas remittance of one million dollars due to a computer glitch became instant millionaires; but they also became fugitives of the law for felony and tax evasion. Their marriage broke up, and they ended up behind bars. The bank was willing to settle for half of the amount, but their sudden wealth had displaced their sense of values, and made them become too greedy with their sudden wealth.

What is the most priceless thing that we have ever discovered? It is our faith. And yet it never cost us anything. But it cost God everything – His very own beloved Son. Although God gives it freely, not everyone finds it, but only the deserving. It is a hidden treasure; hidden from those who seek treasures that can be “eaten by moth, woodworm, or rust, and thieves can break in and steal.” (Mt.6:19) But if, like Mary, Martha’s younger sister, “we choose the better portion, then it will not be taken away from us.” (Lk.10:42)

The wealth of this world are so fleeting they can’t be worth spending so much time and effort for. In the end, gold’s luster will only blind us, preventing us from seeing life’s real treasure. The lives of powerful and wealthy men amounted to nothing because they chose to accumulate the world’s treasures. Like the rich fool whose major concern was how to store his bountiful harvest, God suddenly called him to give an account of his life, and what good did his wealth serve him then? “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk.12:21) God’s Word is the real treasure because it is eternal. And only those who ask for it, seek it, and knock on God’s door for it will be rewarded.

Lord, Your kingdom is not something out there that we have to find, but is already a reality in our lives. Your beloved Son Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is among you.” (Lk.17:21) Since the time we asked Him to live in our hearts, we believe Your kingdom is already within us. Amen.

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