“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.” — Matthew 13:44
Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is a story about pirate gold, stolen from Spanish sailors, who had stolen it from the Incas in South America, who had invaded the lands of other people and had built an empire in the Andes Mountains. The pirates had buried the gold on a Caribbean island. After the treasure map was lost and later found, people from England went in search of it. This is a tale of mutiny, bloodshed, and—in the end—untold riches. It is a parable about people’s ill-gotten gains and the trouble it brings.
In Jesus’ parable about hidden treasure, our Lord doesn’t focus on where the treasure came from, who might have known about it in the past, and so on. That isn’t why he told the parable. The important points here are that (1) the kingdom of heaven is a treasure worth more than anything else we could have, and (2) sometimes people stumble upon it unexpectedly.
How easy it is to be utterly wrapped up in the struggles of life: getting an education, landing a job, finding a spouse, raising kids, fending off health problems, growing old, and, eventually, facing death. How easy it would be to brush off eternal life as vague religious stuff, and to listen to the sneers of people who call it “pie in the sky.” But what a surprise to find that Jesus came to show God’s love for us sinners! Eternal life and the kingdom of heaven are as solid as treasure found in a field.