I read a story recently of a couple in California that were walking through their garden and found a can sticking out from under their tree. When they took a careful look, they found a number of gold coins in it. They then found other cans with coins in them dating back to the 1800s. In all, they are worth more than 10 million dollars. Imagine finding that in your garden!
That’s very similar to the picture Jesus gives in these two stories. In the first, a man finds some buried treasure in a field, and when he does, he quickly covers it up and sells everything he has to buy the field (unlike this couple which already owned the property).
In the second, a pearl merchant is searching for pearls, and finds one for sale, but it was worth a great price. Because he didn’t have the money to buy it, he sold everything he had in order to get it.
Two things strike me. First the joy of the finder. Second, how much he was willing to purchase what he found.
A lot of people compare this story to the joy people have in coming to Christ. In Christ, they find someone of great value, and so they give up everything for him. They give up their homes, their families, and all they possess in order to follow him (Mark 10:29). And though there may be pain in doing so, there is also a joy that overwhelms any feeling of sorrow or loss.
But there is another way to look at this parable. We can also see Jesus as the finder with we as the treasure or pearl.
Jesus sought long and hard for us who were lost and dead in our sins. And when he found us, with great joy, he gave up everything he had to purchase us. He left heaven, giving up his prerogatives as God and his glory, and became one of us. He hungered, he thirsted, he grew tired, he suffered pain. And ultimately, he died a gruesome death on a cross. Why? Because to him, we are a pearl of great value. We are a buried treasure, that though stained by rust and dirt, nevertheless are of immeasurable worth. And so he gave up everything in order to purchase us.
So how should we respond? The apostle Paul admonishes us,
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
Let us therefore live every day honoring the Savior who valued us so much that he gave up everything in order to purchase us.