Anthony Hodgkinson - Harare, Zimbabwe - 2003

Matthew 13:44, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."

 

Jesus was telling something about the Kingdom of His Father, Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven.  Telling of this thing that was eternal and He was giving them a little picture. Sometimes, we say a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly or spiritual meaning. Giving them a little picture of what the Kingdom of Heaven was like. How to become part of this Kingdom. Again, it tells us in another verse, it tells us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like...it’s like treasure. ("Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls; who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.")

 

If we think of treasure, what do we think? We think of possessions, something that has got special value to us or special value to somebody.  It maybe a treasure chest with gold and silver in it or we may think of a nice bank balance.  We may think of possessions and investment, whatever the case is. If something is like treasure, this human in us desires it and Jesus never likened the Kingdom of heaven to poverty, sadness, to sorrow. It was something to be desired and something to want in our lives to be part of this. He thought of this treasure.

 

One of our sister workers asked a number of young boys, “What is the most precious thing in your life?The one little boy said, “My dog and my bicycle,” the other boy said, “My parents,” and the third boy said, “I don’t know.” Isn’t it like that in the world today? Possessions are the most valuable thing in their lives and for many, the love of dear ones is valuable but many people in the world today really don’t know what is valuable and what is precious to them.


King Solomon was a wealthy king; a wise king and a wealthy king.  We read in Ecclesiastes, he got everything his heart desired. He made it and built it and acquired it and then he looked upon it and he said it was a vanity and vexation of spirit. I’ve been reminded more than ever in my life that the temporal things really haven’t got anything to them. The purpose of life is just the eternal things.  Solomon also said, “He that loveth silver will not be satisfied with silver and he that loveth abundant silver will not be satisfied with anything.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10) We know that you people have to work and labour and earn a living and that’s quite in order but this thing that is precious to us, treasure. What is this thing then? Jesus answered that in  Matthew 16:26, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Say there are a hundred in this tent tonight, there is something a 100 times more precious than all the treasures and riches of this world. If we don’t think of that, we may think of the bank as the thing that has the most treasure but here tonight, there are souls that are precious in God’s sight.

 

The devil took Jesus up onto a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of this world in a MOMENT of time, in a MOMENT of time and he said, “I’ll give them all to You if You will worship me” but we know that Jesus knew of this treasure, this Kingdom. We sang in that hymn, “God in heaven hath a treasure.” That’s Christ himself.  and on Earth He has a treasure, “Christ revealed in Saints below.” He knew of that treasure so He couldn’t be tempted with temporal things, earthly things. That little Parable helps us to understand how to have a part of this treasure, how to have a part of this that is eternal. 


Paul wrote in one of his letters, he said, “The light of the gospel hath shined in our hearts” and it’s given us the light of knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. It says that this is the treasure that we have in our hearts and we have this treasure in earthen vessels but the light of the gospel shining in our hearts gives us this treasure, this that is so precious. Paul also wrote in one of his letters, he said, “Unto me is given to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ." Wonderful, he couldn’t even fathom them and he had a wonderful insight, a wonderful vision of this treasure but to him it was still unsearchable, unfathomable. We can get it, we can find it as we sing in that hymn, “We have found Him,” but we never fathom the extent of this treasure. It says he came upon the treasure hid in a field, maybe he walked past that field many a day, many a person had walked over that field where that treasure was. This treasure is close to people, it’s not that we have to go over land and sea, it’s close to us but it’s hid.


Someone quoted that verse today in the meetings where Jesus said, “I thank Thee Father, Lord of Heaven and earth that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them unto babes.” People who are wise in their own sight and wise in their own knowledge and human wisdom, well it is hid from them.  This wisdom is not something that we get with human intellect.  The only door to this treasure is FAITH, faith in God’s word, faith in God. It says, “But Thou has revealed it unto babes.” You think of a babe, a babe is dependent on a higher power, for food and warmth and all it needs.  It can’t fend for itself, it can’t get those needs itself and when we are dependent on a higher power, the Lord can show us where this treasure is. A babe is someone who is humble, humble and childlike; those are the qualities needed to get a picture of this treasure and to find the treasure. This man found the treasure.


Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find,” Seek and ye shall find! Marius quoted from Jeremiah but there is also a verse in Jeremiah there, I looked at it there, it says, “Jeremiah 29:13, 'And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with ALL your heart.”  If we search with all our hearts, we will find this treasure. This man, the first thing he did after he found the treasure, he got a glimpse of this treasure, he didn’t perhaps understand it fully but he got a glimpse of it and he wanted it. And the Lord in these meetings, through the gospel is going to give us a glimpse of this treasure. It says He hid the treasure. You know sometimes people see the Truth, they get a glimpse of the Truth and then they say, "What will my wife or what will my husband say?  If I serve God like this, what will my parents say? And what about my future sporting career and this and that and the next thing?" And, some people, they allow things to rob them of this treasure. But this man, nothing was going to rob him of this treasure, he hid it.  The next thing it says he went and for the joy thereof, goeth and selleth all.

 

We heard a little about joy today. What comes to mind is the testimony of a man who’s passed away in Cape Town.  He and his wife, they had a relative who invited them to meetings and he came.  But I’ll just tell you this first, he said his testimony was like the book of Ezra, like the first two chapters of the book of Ezra. I’ll tell you why, he said he realised that he would have to sacrifice things in his life and he was willing for it. He listened to the gospel and he was willing to sacrifice but he still didn’t have the joy and it says in Ezra, the first thing that they did when they came back from captivity, they built and altar, which speaks of sacrifice and the second thing they did was they built the foundation of the temple and then when they built the foundation of the temple the people shouted and wept for joy (Ezra 3:12) and it was WONDERFUL joy the people had.  And he said, "When the foundation of this Truth was laid in my life, then I had wonderful joy."  He’s passed away but there was the joy in his life. This man had joy and he went and sold everything. What did he have to sell, did he have to sell his house and his possessions? No, it says he went and he sold all, he sold all his own ideas and his own plans and his own thoughts. You know, Naaman and Paul, they both said, “I thought.Paul said when he gave his testimony, "I thought to do many things contrary to this way" (Acts 26: 9) Naaman said, "I thought the prophet will come out and cleanse me" (II Kings 5:11) but we have to sell all the “I thoughts.” He sold his ways and his ideas and his thoughts about this...he sold it all. He had to sell it all and then he could buy the field, Where the treasure was, he had to sell it all and that is the price. 


You know Paul wrote to the Philippians 3:7, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss."  He said, "Yea, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Paul was willing to sell all of that Pharisee life of his; he was willing to sell it all for this treasure. The price of that field, it was his all. All his thoughts, all his ways and so on. We think of the price we need to pay, the price is our all.

 

One of our friends, the grandfather was drilling on a farm and he had to get water and the people told him there is water there and he got the money out the bank. Eventually he sold a car, he drilled deeper and deeper and deeper and every possession he could get he sold it and drilled deeper. He still didn’t have water and he was desperate. Then he had a very precious gold watch, it had been handed down in the family, well he had to go and sell that watch. He sold that watch and they drilled a bit deeper and they got water. We have to sell our ALL.  It says that’s the price of the field. You know the price of things in this country (Zimbabwe) is very different to the price of things in our country (South Africa) but the price of this field, this treasure, is the same in every country.  There is no inflation that changes that price.  It’s the same price in every country.

 

What is the price of joy as we have heard?

The price of joy is sacrifice and

The price of help is, asking!

The price of faith is hearing.

The price of blessing is obedience.

 

Those are the prices we pay in getting this field, getting this something wonderful in our lives.  Then he went and bought that field. What is that field? It’s the will of God. The treasure is only found in the will of God. That will cost our all and if we are willing for our all and get that field, we will be willing for the will of God.  That is where we find this joy and where we find this salvation, in the will of God. This means everything to us.

 

A doctor once said to a patient, the patient was very low, “Desire something and we can try and arrange to get it for you.” The patient said, "I would like the mind of Christ. If I have that, then I won't need anything else."