The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)
“Don’t put all your eggs into one basket – you need to diversify your investment portfolio”. That’s the sort of advice a financial advisor would give (I’m reliably informed, having never actually sought financial advice before!). And it surely would have been no different when Jesus spoke these parables. It simply isn’t wise to cash out all your investments and put everything into one stock.
But when it comes to the kingdom of heaven, different rules apply. God’s Kingdom is of such great value that no diversification is needed. You go all in. That’s exactly what both men did in each of these parables, even though they arrive at that point in different ways. The first almost stumbles over this invaluable treasure, whereas in the second parable the merchant is diligently seeking. But however we encounter God’s kingdom, the response should be one of whole-hearted, joyful commitment.
Now when we hear the word kingdom today, we might be tempted to think ‘Lord of the Rings’ and imagine a mythical, spacial place. But the kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God is really the rule and reign of God. Theologian Graeme Goldsworthy describes it as “God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule.” So our joyful commitment is to the King of Kings and his sovereign reign over everything, including over every aspect of my life.
Jesus is not saying in these parables, of course, that we can buy or earn our way into his kingdom. Entry is a free gift of grace, by faith. But as subjects of the kingdom of heaven, we must be prepared to give things up for the sake of following King Jesus. At times, the Apostle Paul had to forgo physical safety, freedom, and general comforts (2 Corinthians 11:22-29). But no matter what loss we might suffer as citizens of heaven, the kingdom is of such immense value that it’s a great deal.
As believers, we will inevitably miss out on many things that the world offers. Some people might warn us not to go all in, not to take this Christianity thing too seriously. But when something is worth that much, actually the wise thing is to be fully invested. And we don’t have to worry about a market crash either because the treasure we’re invested in is imperishable and eternal.
So as we begin a new week, let’s reflect on these parables. Particularly as following Jesus might prove costly – at work, at college, at home, or when we’re out with our friends. But whatever following Jesus might cost us, we should imitate the attitude of Paul, who writes: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
 Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament, p. 53.