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As I strolled at the edge of the rolling surf, my eyes scanned the sand for unique shells or interesting rocks. Nearing a jetty, I noticed that a recent storm was powerful enough to rearrange the once-familiar boulders. It’s always a surprise to peek between the rocks for a glimpse of any creatures that might be hiding there. Moon snails, anemones, and even the occasional starfish are a treat. But that day, I discovered something I’d never seen before.
The glass ball was approximately the size of an apple, solid, heavy, and battered to look frosted- the largest piece of sea glass I’d ever seen. This was a beach treasure unlike anything I’d ever found.
Dishes and mugs filled the thrift store shelves in varying conditions, from pristine to disarray. It’s always fun to browse, hoping for a diamond in the rough of discarded household goods. All seemed pretty unremarkable until I spied a small lamp, shaped like a turtle, sitting among candles and alarm clocks. I knew it must go home with me, where its shell will glow steadfastly on top of my bookshelf. What a prize!
My friend convinced me to join her on an errand with the promise of another thrift store. The chance of a surprising find enticed me to casually wander the racks and shelves, not looking for anything in particular. When I saw the teapot, I immediately had visions of green, leafy vines spilling from its top. The next errand was now the local plant store, because I couldn’t wait to begin growing a new philodendron on my windowsill.
Jesus understood the thrill of discovery. He also knew the value of true treasure. Therefore, he told a story to His disciples so that they might see for themselves.
Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 13:44).
In only two sentences, we are captivated by quite a tale! Can you imagine the man’s excitement at the most amazing discovery he had ever made? He probably didn’t expect it at all, because who goes poking around an ordinary field hoping to find something valuable? Perhaps he was working the land or maybe even merely passing through on his way to somewhere else. But an actual treasure was worth more than his previous plans! There was not a moment to spare. He immediately did everything he could to buy that field and ensure that he wouldn’t lose his incredible find. It mattered more to him than the entire sum of his existing belongings; he was willing to trade it all for this treasure-bearing field!
That, Jesus said, is like the kingdom of heaven. It is beyond amazing and far surpasses the worth of every single thing we currently hold dear to our hearts. God’s kingdom is not a only a future hope, but also here, now in our midst. When we encounter it, we experience enthusiastic joy as we instantly realize its beauty and priceless worth.
Could the kingdom of heaven be like a weathered glass ball, a glowing turtle, or a sprouting teapot?
I think so. Because while seeing Jesus for the first time is definitely overwhelming joy, the kingdom of heaven continues to delight us as we discover more about it. Our first visit to the beach is wonderful, and there’s something new to enjoy each time we return. The shelves of the thrift store are ever-changing, creating opportunities for fresh finds. Similarly, God reveals never-ending treasures as He shows us more of His kingdom.
So far, I’ve found riches like:
Connecting with brothers and sisters in the Lord fills us with encouragement, helps us grow, gives comfort, and holds us accountable. What a gift!
Holy Spirit’s Presence
There have been tangible moments when I experienced God’s nearness. The Holy Spirit helps us remember truth, equips us with discernment, and guides us in wisdom.
This is so much that it’s nearly unfathomable. We are surrounded by His love through His attention to details in our lives and His provision of needs (and sometimes even wants). We witness the promises of scripture become reality, then understand the purpose He gives us while being part of His plan. God pours out His infinite love until it overflows. We could discover new ways that He loves us every single day and never take in the entire expanse of His compassion.
The thing about beach-combing and thrift-store-hopping is that each discovery inspires more searching. If we found something this good, what other wonders could be out there? We are motivated to continue to seek treasure. May our fervent quest for even more of the kingdom of heaven yield riches beyond what we ever could imagine. A never-ending joy awaits.