Matthew 13:44-46 – Christmas Eve and Parents Doing Anything to Find That Toy of the Year

Posted: December 24, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 13:44-46
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure & the Pearl of Great Price
Every couple of years at Christmas time, there is a toy that becomes the thing that every kid has to have. Parents go nuts trying to find this perfect toy. They will pay any price for it. Back when my girls (Meghan and Taylor) were young, there were several of those years.

When Meghan was real little, it was the Teddy Ruxpin bear. Parents would pay any price for it. A few years later when Taylor was born, it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that. The Fisher Price vacuum that Meghan apparently wanted bad enough for Santa to come back and bring because he “forgot it.” There was, of course, the Fisher Price kitchens, the easy bake ovens, and Barbie’s dream houses that Meghan and Taylor had to have over the years. As they got a little older and technology got better, Gigapets were all the rage. A few years later, Meghan and Taylor were all ga-ga over Super Nintendo.

Also, In that era, we also saw Sega Game Gear become the hit toy of Christmas around the country. The mid-90s saw Power Rangers action figures take over. And then of course, during that time there was the Tickle Me Elmo that really took parents by storm. Then, there were Furbies and then Pokemon. Then as time passes, it was the Razor Scooter and then, oh man, the X-box – boy did we parents pay through the nose on that one. Next up was the PS3. Then, the Ipod Touch. Then, there was the Wii entertainment system. Next stop was the iPad, and the iPhone, and the Kindle Fire. What will be the most sought after gift for our children this year? It is certain that there are parents out there right now, today on Christmas Eve, trying to find that one gift that all parents are trying to find. Today is the last chance. Zero barrier is approaching. Must find today. Some parents will pay any price to find that one have-to-have gift for 2015. Have you ever experienced that as a parent? The sad thing about all that hustle and bustle is that six months from now, the importance of that gift to the child will have waned. Or maybe even sooner than that. It may be that they play with it while on Christmas Morning and then get disinterested in it and not play with it much at all after that. And the thing that irks a parent the most is that the day after Christmas the same toy that you paid three times the price for prior to Christmas is now on sale for half or a quarter of the price that you paid for it.

It is kind of the same thing for grown-ups with their own toys. When HD televisions first came out, everybody had to have one. It didn’t matter what the price was, we just had to have it. My first HD large screen television cost me over $800. Five years later when I had to replace it, we bought a bigger screen HD television that had more capabilities for half the price that we paid five years ago. The thing that is common to these scenarios is that with human things, things that we create, is that they fade. There is always something better to come along to capture our fancy that makes what we have now seem old and lousy. You almost done want to purchase anything because as soon as you do you get off on the exit ramp of being locked into what you have now while technology keeps on advancing down the interstate of progress. Human things fade. Human creations get old and lousy. They become worthless over time. That is not what Jesus is talking about today. He is talking about the kingdom of heaven, that which is eternal. In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus says,
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.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

There are several things that we learn from this passage that we can apply to our lives today in the world in which we find ourselves. First, in each of these parables, we find that to central characters stumble upon their treasure. Second, we see that when they find their treasure, they are willing to do anything to possess it. Finally, we must decide how deep we are willing to go ourselves for this Christ follower thing. In the end, we will come to see that we must place our value in things that matter in eternity not the temporal things of the here and now.

The first thing that we notice from these parables is how there is a randomness to their finding their treasure. The man walking through the field and the merchant both stumble upon the great treasure that they end up sparing no expense to obtain. When you really think about this, it reminds us that our salvation is a gift from God not something that we have to do something or not do something to get. Our salvation is not something we earn. If earning was the basis of our salvation none of us would have it. We can never undo our sins or our sin nature. We are tainted by our sin beyond repair. We cannot go about doing more good than bad. One sin disqualifies us from ever existing with God in heaven in eternity. Just one. That’s all it takes to disqualify us. We cannot keep a ledger of good deeds vs. bad deeds and think we are going to win the debate. Just as drop of creamer changes the color and taste of coffee permanently for that cup so it is with sin. It changes the color of our coffee no matter how small the drop is. We are permanently stained or changed by one sin not to mention the tons of sins we commit daily. Thus, we can never do enough to earn our salvation. It is a gift. It is like finding a hidden treasure buried in a field. It is like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk. We did nothing to earn the treasure or the $20 bill. It is a gift freely given to us by a Father who loved us so much that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, same in essence and nature as the Father, to be the reconciling sacrifice for our sins. Jesus took our punishment for us. We have been set free. We won the lottery. Through no effort of our own, we have been freely given a gift beyond measure. We are condemned to hell by our sins, but we have been given a stay of execution by a God who loves us that much that He does not want to see us get what we really deserve. We have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat through Jesus Christ’s freely given gift of salvation by faith. Notice too that these treasures were there all along and available for anyone to find. These men did not have some exclusive right to what they found. This tells us that salvation is available to anyone who finds Jesus. There is no exclusive country club. All are welcome to find salvation in Jesus Christ. Men of all colors can find it. Men of all “religions” can find it. No one is excluded. Everyone has the opportunity to find this treasure.

The second thing that we notice here is that once the man in the field and the merchant have stumbled upon their rich treasure. They are not willing to give it up. They are willing to pay any price for it (just like a parent on Christmas Eve is willing to pay any price for that ultimate toy of Christmas for their child). That reminds us of the lives of thanksgiving we should be living. We should be thankful for the gift than we have been given. Nothing else has greater importance to us after salvation. In our salvation, we find joy and peace that goes beyond anything the non-believer can understand. No longer do we find ourselves defining ourselves by what toys we have. We define ourselves in the pearl of great price that we have been given. Everything else is just trinkets and toys to us. Our salvation freely given permanently seals us into the eternity that we desire, spending it at the feet of our God, praising Him in eternity. That is our focus after salvation. We live our lives to please God and from that comes the overflow of blessings to others. We have our pearl of great price. We have our hidden treasure. Nothing in this world has greater value to us than our salvation.

The final thing that we notice here is the challenge to us as Christ followers. How deep are you willing to dive into this ocean of following Christ? Are you just going to hang out on the shore forever or are you going to grow and dive deeper. Are you willing to go and do whatever God calls you to do? Or are there excuses and reasons that you cannot be all-in when it comes to following Christ? Are you willing to pay any price to follow where Christ leads you? Are you willing to give up the fine house, the fine salary, the comfort zone in which you find yourself? Are you willing to give up all your earthly toys to follow Christ? I will follow you Lord, but… These are famous words of most all Christ followers. We want to follow Christ but only up to the point that it really costs us something. What if there was really a cost and not just benefits to being Christ followers here in the USA? What if times change and being a Christian was an economic and even a life-threatening liability to us like it is in most countries outside the Western world? What if you would suffer economic sanctions because of your professing publicly by words and actions that you are a Christ follower? How deep would we go then? What if you were taxed three times higher than everyone else because you are a professing Christ follower? What if you were cut off from your family for saying that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and that you believe in Him as your Savior? What if you were put in prison for this belief? What if you had a gun to your head for this belief? How much does this hidden treasure, this pearl of great price, mean to you? We must be willing to be Christ followers when it costs us something not just when it is a side benefit to us. Our faith should mean so much to us that we will stand on it no matter what it costs us. It is the eternal that matters to us not the approval of this world. Let us be such a people. The ones that hear God’s call and follows no matter where it leads us. Let us be a people that views our eternity as more important than present day approval. Let us be a people that stands upon our faith in Jesus Christ regardless of what the flow of public opinion is at this moment. Let us stand with Jesus Christ even when it will cost us something. Let us be willing to place eternity with Jesus as the pearl of great price to us that overrules anything else that we may value in this life. Let us be that people.

Amen and Amen.

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