August 20 – Parables of Paramount Value

August 20, 2018 Randy Bushey

~by Randy Bushey

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).

Economists speak of the subjective theory of value: what something is worth is appraised very differently depending on the circumstances and perceived needs of the person evaluating.

Have you ever thought that if your home was engulfed by flame and you were given 30 seconds to retrieve only one item, what it would be?

This mind experiment demonstrates that value is highly personal and subjective; for many people, the spectrum of options is usually narrowed down to a photo, an item of historical family significance, or something by which a deceased loved one is remembered – all objects that others may appraise as almost worthless.

Jesus related 2 brief parables only to His disciples, demonstrating that God too has a value system.

The Twelve were learning. Bible teacher Randolph Tasker (20th century) assessed, “The disciples…had already grasped something of the supernatural character of their Master and of the kingdom He came to inaugurate.”

But there was much to learn, and only a matter of months left before His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. They required major adjustment to their worldview.

And those lessons are of critical importance to disciples in every era.

Much of His teaching about the Kingdom evidenced that when compared to God’s values, ours are awry – badly misaligned. Those objects, experiences and relationships in which we place maximum premium confirm we possess a distorted ability to discern genuine – and eternal – worth.

Our natural default setting overvalues what is temporary and diminishing, and undervalues what is everlasting, holding authentic value forever.

And so Jesus described in parable form, what it is to focus on a single object as having preeminent, dominant worth.

The first parable is but a single verse: 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).

The Holy Land has known 3000 years of great political uncertainty. In Bible times, as the clouds of war or civil unrest appeared on the horizon, money and other objects of value were often secretly buried to be recovered by the owners when the storm blew over.

Sometimes, the owners of this treasure did not survive, or never returned. And the treasure continued to lie hidden for years or decades until accidentally discovered by another.

That person immediately knew the field held far more value than what others – including the owner, unaware of the hidden wealth — would assess.

Consequently, the finder was prepared to liquidate everything to purchase the property, because by carrying out the transaction he would be instantly far richer.

The second parable illustrates a similar theme. However, rather than stumbling across a lost treasure, the character is a merchant, deliberately scouring the markets to find his cherished object.

When he discovered the article of his quest, nothing he owned was worth keeping as he disposed of all to acquire the prize: 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 13:45,46).

So, what are we to learn?

As a citizen of the Kingdom of God, my chief objective is to please the King. My values must align with His. I must love what He loves, hating what He hates. My worldview is constantly in need of adjustment.

The Scripture is clear: of all that the Father treasures, He most values His Son. In His Kingdom, Christ is of preeminent, dominant, transcendently ultimate worth.

Takeaway: How can you tell when the incremental process of progressive sanctification is occurring in your life? Here’s one indicator: when our lives – our hopes and dreams, our motivation, our appetites, and our purposes – increasingly reflect Christ’s system of values.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).

 

-graphic by Carola Diessen, freeimages.com 

~this post is edited from one appearing first in Sept.2016.