“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.”
Talk about sold out.
These short parables about the kingdom of heaven have one purpose: to teach just how priceless the Kingdom really is.
Jesus taught that this Kingdom is so valuable it’s worth selling everything for. Uprooting your life. Liquidating your possessions. Selling out. Being a part of Kingdom work is worth more than you can ever earn in your life. In fact, it’s worth your very life itself.
Do you value the Kingdom of heaven like that?
And what even is the Kingdom of heaven? Hold that thought and I’ll circle back around to it.
I’m moving to Uganda soon. I’m packing up just about everything I own worth taking, hopping on a plane, and starting a new life in an African country I’ve only set foot in recently, for less than two weeks. Sounds kind of crazy. I never count myself as an authority on what’s crazy and what’s not anymore, but I’ve heard many of you say that… “Is it safe?” “How can you live like that?” “You’re my hero!” “I couldn’t do what you do.” And the list goes on.
And I’ll admit, yes, there are some moments when I question my sanity. They come when I’m making packing lists or sitting on a plane by myself. But then I remember that there is nothing I love more than looking into a pair of eager eyes while doing the hard work of discipleship. Never do I feel more fulfilled than when I pace a dirt floor and tell a Bible story. Squatting by a fire, drinking tea together, struggling against a foreign language to communicate truth. Those are the things light a fire in my heart.
That, my friends, is the Kingdom of heaven. Being in the presence of our Lord, going about his work, and pleasing him with our offerings of faith and sacrificial work—those are worth every minute of your life you can give. Loving our Lord and sharing his task of discipling the whole world to bring them to the feet of our Father is not so crazy after all. It’s a pearl of great price, a hidden treasure of great value, something you would happily be sold out to pursue.
So, going to Uganda isn’t so crazy after all. And I’m not a super Christian. I’m not any more faithful or any more committed or sacrificial than the rest of you.
I love speaking at churches. I love sharing my heart for the Lord and his work overseas. I really do. But I always cringe at those comments above that mark me as special. The ones that put me in a different category, border on reverence, and are a little too heavy with well-meaning but ignorant adoration. I’m not a supermissionary. I’m not even an overly mature Christian. Just because searching for my ‘treasure hidden in the field’ takes me overseas, that doesn’t mean that I follow the Lord any more closely than those of you who search for your ‘pearl of great value’ here in the States.
Jim Elliot was a missionary who was certainly sold out when it came to offering all he had in service of his Lord and the Good News about Him. This is one of his quotes you might have heard before:
“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
The kingdom of heaven is worth seeking out wherever we find ourselves and in whatever phase of life. Live to the hilt. Be all buried in the opportunities you have to mentor or disciple, to make a difference in the lives around you for the sake of the kingdom and its King.
I recently visited a string of friends and was struck by how faithful they were in their various lives. I didn’t feel at all superior to the friends who are redeeming the time by fostering a child whose life they may eternally impact. I am no more holy than the friend working toward a job to advocate for immigrants and to faithfully live out Christlike character in her corner of the world. I am certainly no more sanctified than the friend who has just begun the years-long work of raising a family to follow after Jesus. I am not seeking out the kingdom of heaven any harder than the friends who are in school to better train for a lifetime of service that will point huge networks of people to the feet of our Heavenly Father, one interaction at a time. Those friends are my heroes, and I certainly could not live their lives or do what they do.
But that’s the way of the kingdom of heaven. Some of us work the ground to find it. Some of us sell what we have to find it. Some of us buy fields. Some of us are merchants. Some of us move overseas. Some of us make disciples in the same town we grew up in. It takes all of us to make disciples to the ends of the earth. It takes all of us being sold out.
What are some ways you can daily build your life to reflect the priceless treasure you have in your Lord Jesus, and what are some actions you can take to be about kingdom work?