Matthew 13:45-46 | Philippians 3:8-9 | 1 Corinthians 6:20 | Matthew 7:6

Finding the Kingdom of Heaven: priceless.

There was a certain credit card company which, in the late 1990s, introduced an advertising campaign based on the idea that “There are some things money can’t buy.” Each commercial would list items and their prices, building to the thematic “priceless” item–something like “real conversation with your son” or “forgetting you’re far from home.”

If you play chess, you may keep score based on what pieces remain in play. Pawns are worth one point, bishops and knights three, rooks are five, and queens are nine. But the king? Priceless. Because if you lose the king, you lose the game.

Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like that–priceless. It’s worth selling everything you have to obtain it.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”

Matthew 13:44 NLT

When the man found the treasure in the field, he sold everything to buy the field–and he was excited to do it! How could he be excited to sell off all his possessions? His mind was on the treasure, that’s how.

If your mind is on the treasure, you’re not worried about what you have to part with to get it. You might worry that you won’t have enough to sell to get the treasure, but you would never fret the loss of stuff which, compared to the treasure, smells like moldy cheese.

This priceless pearl is so good, Jesus tells us, that if a highly trained pearl dealer came across it, they would see its value above everything else on the market.

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”

Matthew 13:45-46 NLT

This pearl merchant would have been searching for pearls his entire life. Yet when he saw this beauty, he was ready to sell all his other pearls and buy it.

Jesus is saying that his Kingdom is not just a treasure–it is The Treasure of Treasures. Nothing compares to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.

Philippians 3:8-9a NLT

Remember, too, that you yourself are a treasure. As a follower of Christ, you have been bought at a high price.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT

Let this fact inform all your decisions. Would you put graffiti on a holy temple? Would you drive a Ferrari through a mud bog? Would you throw your priceless pearls into the feeding trough?

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”

Matthew 7:6 NLT

If you don’t have this treasure, seek it out. Ask God to show it to you. If you’re not happy to jettison everything else to gain it or keep it, ask God to give you a better view of what the treasure really is. We pray that as you do, you will see what treasure you are as well.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • How is the Kingdom of Heaven like a priceless treasure?
  • Have you ever had something you would sell everything to keep? Have you ever encountered something for which you would sell everything to gain?
  • What are some ways people ‘throw their pearls to pigs’ these days? What is Jesus referring to in Matthew 7:6? Does it include your body? Or is it limited to other holy things?

Challenge: Modern Day Treasure

Who’s ready to be part of an object lesson? 

On the surface, this challenge may seem like a high-stakes game of seek and find, but what it really is, is more closely akin to performance art. In Ezekiel 4, God had the prophet illustrate Israel’s punishment by laying on his side for 390 days next to a model of a besieged Jerusalem. Our example is much less taxing.

Follow the instructions below to perform your own scaled-down version of Matthew 13:45-46. You will find a treasure, then sell things to pay for it.

  1. Visit local thrift stores until you find your treasure.
    • The item must be unique. The only one in the store, and not a common find.
    • The item should be priced below its value. Otherwise, why not buy it new?
  2. Leave the store WITHOUT buying the item. You may want to take reasonable (but considerate) steps to make the item less noticeable. You could also ask the store owner to hold the item for you, if they do that.
  3. Sell some of your things to buy the item. The treasure must be purchased with money you make from selling other items–otherwise, no drama!
  4. Return to the store and buy the item. IF it is available!

Follow Up

  • How anxious were you that the item would be gone when you returned to buy it?
  • What was the hardest item to sell, emotionally?
  • What are the parallels between this experience and Matthew 13:45-46?
  • What have you learned from this experience?