Where Is the Treasure?
Jesus tells an interesting parable about the kingdom of heaven. A man, for some reason, is poking around in a field he doesn’t own. He finds a buried treasure. Without telling anyone of his discovery, he sells everything he has, buys the field, and takes possession of both the land and the treasure.
Putting aside the man’s sneakiness—perhaps unethical behavior—we get the point Jesus was making. God’s kingdom is worth everything we have—and then some. If we give up all we have and all we are to obtain the kingdom, we’re way ahead.
Recently I came across a story told by Rev. Russell Conwell that presents another view of treasure hunting, one that also has implications for us in our search for heavenly treasure.
There was a wealthy farmer in Africa whose name was Hafid. He owned a huge, fertile tract of land, large herds of camels and goats, and orchards full of date and fig trees. He had more than enough of worldly goods.
One day a wandering holy man came to Hafid’s farm, and told him that huge fields of diamonds were being discovered. The distinguishing geographical features of these fields were rivers with white sands that flowed out of valleys lying between V-shaped mountains.
Hafid was so eager for greater wealth that he sold everything he had—land, herds, orchards—and went in search of this fortune. He never found it. Search as he might he was not able to find such a valley. Finally, he died, a poor, broken, disillusioned man.
Meanwhile, the man who had bought Hafid’s farm found a pretty rock in the river as he watered his camels. He admired it for its sparkle, picked it up and took it home, where he put it on a shelf. The sun reflecting through it made pretty rainbow patterns across the room.
Sometime later, the same wandering holy man came back to the farm. Seeing the rock and its rainbow colors he asked the new owner where he had found it. When they got to the river the holy man looked up and saw that it flowed into the valley from between V-shaped mountains. As they walked along they found more and more of the pretty rocks, which the holy man identified as diamonds. Eventually they found that the land contained acres and acres of diamonds.
The farm became the Kimberly Diamond Mine, the richest in all South Africa. Hafid, in his haste to gain more wealth, didn’t bother to look around him. If he had, he would never have sold his property. He would have discovered the diamonds, and become wealthy beyond his wildest dreams instead of dying far from home in poverty.
Psalm 121 begins with the words, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills.” If Hafid had looked up he would have seen the V-shape of the mountains which identified the valley as a source of diamonds. Had he looked down when he was watering his flocks he would have seen the diamonds. Instead he looked far away, and as a result lost not only his chance at greater wealth, but the wealth he already had.
We too should look for treasure where we live. The man in Jesus’ parable was near his home. He was not on some exotic journey, but close to his own village.
Our treasure will be found in our service to God. Most of us will not be called to go adventuring far away, but will serve where we live. That’s where we’ll find our field of diamonds.