The Kingdom of Heaven is like
Rare treasure hidden in a field:
Even if it costs everything, you may strike
A vein where pure gold is concealed.
Seek treasure that is safe from moth and rust
Ultimately, it is worth the endeavour.
Riches and wealth will end up as dust
Easter’s cache holds its value forever.
A little while ago, I published a novella called The Kilfinan Treasure. Based in an imaginary village, it told of people trying to solve clues in order to discover a mystery treasure. However, the clues were designed to get people re-visiting their bibles, and hopefully discover even more valuable treasures. I wrote this acrostic to coincide with its launch. (Incidentally, the clues were based on rhyming acrostics).
When Jesus is at the house of Mary and Martha, Martha is concerned for many things (Luke 10:38-10:42). Jesus reminds her that ‘only one thing is needed’. Indeed, Jesus often alludes to one treasure that is so valuable we should be prepared to give up everything else to obtain it. This is something we know in principle but most of us would find difficult in practice. Certainly, it proved too difficult for the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) – and I’m very relieved that Jesus didn’t say “go, sell your possessions” to me! Perhaps if the ruler had said something like “that’s too hard for me; help me in my weakness”, he might have elicited a different response (c.f. Mark 9:24)?
Such a great treasure is difficult to imagine, but the words of Jesus couldn’t be clearer. One of my very favourite poems is The Bright Field by R S Thomas. In it, he writes: But that was the pearl of great price, the one field that had treasure in it. I realise now that I must give all that I have to possess it. It speaks not only of the existence of such a treasure, but also of the need to recognise it when you see it. To spot the transient moment in which to grasp eternity. A combination of alertness and willingness.
Easy to say, not so easy to do. Perhaps it becomes a little easier if we meditate on just how valuable a treasure Jesus offers. Based on Matthew 13:44, I have done my best to capture this idea in the acrostic.
(Treasure appears on my New Testament: Gospels page).