As we saw in yesterday’s devotional, Jesus’ claim on our lives is exclusive and demanding. And so, if we are not careful, we can misconstrue Jesus’ radical statements in the Gospels and begin to think that he does not want the best for us. But he does. He is not trying to strip us of all pleasure. Instead he is offering us the satisfaction of eternal treasure.
We see this in Matthew 13. There Jesus tells his disciples, “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.”
I love this picture. Imagine walking in a field and stumbling upon a treasure that is more valuable than anything else you could work for or find in this life. It is more valuable than all you have now or will ever have in the future.
You look around and notice that no one else realizes the treasure is here, so you cover it up quickly and walk away, pretending you haven’t seen anything. You go into town and begin to sell off all your possessions to have enough money to buy that field. The world thinks you’re crazy. “What are you thinking?” your friends and family ask you.
You tell them, “I’m buying that field over there.”
They look at you in disbelief. “That’s a ridiculous investment,” they say. “Why are you giving away everything you have?”
You respond, “I have a hunch,” and you smile to yourself as you walk away.
You smile because you know. You know that in the end you are not really giving away anything at all. Instead you are gaining. Yes, you are abandoning everything you have, but you are also gaining more than you could have in any other way. So with joy—with joy!—you sell it all, you abandon it all. Why? Because you have found something worth losing everything else for.
This is the picture of Jesus in the gospel. He is something—someone—worth losing everything for. If we walk away from the Jesus of the gospel, we walk away from eternal riches. But if we abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to the radical invitation of Jesus, we discover the infinite treasure of knowing and experiencing him.
How does knowing Jesus satisfy the deep needs in your soul?