The Parables of Jesus
March 16, 2022
“Giving it all up to have it all.”
Matthew 13:44-46; 4:18-22
I was brought up in the Catholic religion. So it was unheard of not giving up something for lent when I was young. The idea of giving something up during lent is to make a sacrifice by doing without something you really like. I remember my family members, or myself, giving up things like sweets, chocolate, and even smoking for the 40 days of lent.
Nowadays, I don’t know many people who give up something for lent. But, I do know people who have given things up. For example, I know several people who have given up drugs, alcohol, and over-eating. Not easy tasks. But they are better people today because they faced their addictive problems and walked away from them (Albeit many times with help and support from others).
I also know individuals and families who have given up everything they have to follow Christ’s calling, to go, and make disciples. For example, one of my former students (Youth) moved to England with his wife and are Evangelists there. Another good friend of mine moved His entire family to Russia, where they currently serve as Missionaries for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. (Please keep both families in your prayers.)
Today, we’ll be looking at two short Parables that Jesus shared. They both discuss, giving it all up.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46
Did you notice that in both of the above Parables, both the man and the merchant give up (sold) everything they had for something greater?
Back in Jesus’ day, it was common for wealthy people to divide their wealth in three ways:
Cash: Which was readily available for necessary items, like food and shelter, to live and invest.
Precious stones or jewels: These could be taken wherever they went
Bury it on their property: Sounds odd, but there was no interest on investments back then. So, people would bury part of their wealth somewhere on their property when they traveled.
(Unfortunately, if you never came back to your home/property, there was a possibility that it could be lost forever. Or it might be found by accident, as in the case of the treasure hidden in the field.)
Both the found treasure and the pearl of great value represent the Kingdom of God or Christ who established His Kingdom on earth. When the two men sold everything, that is literally everything. They gave up everything they had in the world for the riches that God has to offer us.
The best way to understand this is to return to the calling of Jesus’ disciples in Matthew 4.
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
At once, they left their nets and followed him.
From there, he saw two other brothers, James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” Matthew 4:18-22
These disciples gave up everything to follow Jesus. They left their livelihood and even their family. This is the point Jesus is making in the Parable of the treasure and pearl.
Jesus is telling us that His Kingdom, our righteousness, and the promise of eternal life are much more important than the things the world has to offer. Therefore, it’s essential to evaluate what we have and decide how it helps or hinders our work in God’s Kingdom.
Remember how the two men in the Parable gave up everything they had to purchase what they found? It’s something you and I can’t do. We can’t buy our way into eternity. We are sinners, and no matter what we do, it’s not good enough in the eyes of God. So, He sent His Son Jesus as a sacrifice. He paid the price for our sins.
God offers us His Grace, and we are now righteous in His sight. And, He wants us to share His love with everyone freely. God’s grace, God’s forgiveness, and Christ’s love are all free. So, pass them on to others so they too may know their Savior and experience eternity.
Dear Lord. For most of us, it’s challenging to give it all up for what you have to offer. We love our money, houses, positions, and other possessions. Please continue to have your Holy Spirit work within us to “Let it Go.” Help us always to put you and your love for us first in our lives. Amen.