Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The treasure hid in a field

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. (Matt. 13:44)
Several significant points stick out to me in this parable. The first thing is that the man knows that he has to buy the field to obtain the treasure. This gives us the sense that one of the things about obtaining the kingdom of heaven is that it has to be done legally, according to heavenly laws.

The second thing is that the man sells all that he has to buy the field. This gives us a sense of the worth of the treasure—it is far more than enough to compensate for giving up all else and that rather than making a supreme sacrifice, the man is getting an incredible deal, that the price he is paying is cheap. He knows it too, which is why he gives it all so joyfully.

When I think of the man selling all that he had to buy the field with the treasure in it, I first thought of those people who give up everything they own, their family, and their successful life, to get the gospel and obtain the kingdom of heaven. Spiritually, it is those who, like King Lamoni’s father, give all their sins, large and small, to know God and obtain a hope of eternal life. Do we not tend to “own” our sins? Isn’t it the best deal ever to give up our sins in return for eternal life? I also think of Elder Maxwell’s words about how the only real thing we own that we can give to God is our will.

The last little interesting thing that strikes me about this parable comes from a question—how did the man find the treasure if the field wasn’t his at first? He visited. And he went digging and poking around and exploring. This is like the visitor who comes to church, becomes intrigued, and wants to learn more.

So it seems that this parable shows that eternal life is both expensive and cheap. It is expensive because it costs us everything we have and are. It is cheap because the price is paid for only the measly short time of our mortality in comparison to the vastness of the eternal reward.

I think striving to remember this and living it is part of paying that price.