The Treasure of the Kingdom

Thinking about treasure this morning. Not just about acquiring it, but also what we’re to do with it. But the treasure I’m considering this morning is not gold or silver, but something far more valuable and longer lasting. And far from keeping it locked up and hidden away, it’s to be opened and accessed . . . and by implication, shared with others. That’s what we’re to do with the treasure of the kingdom.

Wrapping up my reading in Matthew 13 this morning. Jesus has been revealing truths and dynamics concerning the kingdom of heaven through parables. “Mystery stories.” Not as in “whodunnit?” But as in “whogetsit?” Simple stories grounded in relatable experience that carry a meaning and insight concerning a dimension only accessible by faith. Insights beyond the reach of those with hard hearts of unbelief, but illumination concerning a kingdom which, though sourced in heaven, operates within the hearts of men and women who believe. As such, revealing spiritual reality to those with “ears to hear.”

And Jesus disciples had such ears. “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear,” said Jesus to His own, “For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matt. 13:16-17). And so, Jesus peppers them with parables. Telling them multiple stories, all beginning with the phrase, “the kingdom of heaven is like.”

And as Jesus concludes His Matthew 13 round of “story telling,” He asks His disciples a simple question and then gives them a profound lesson in stewardship. He tells them what they are to do with the treasure of the kingdom.

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” (Matthew 13:51-52 ESV)

They were getting it. It would be awhile before they fully understood the depths of it, but they were getting it. And Jesus said that every truth their “ears to hear” received, every dynamic they “eyes to see” saw, every byte of data concerning the kingdom their hearts were able to store, that it was all to be regarded as gold, silver, and precious stones. That, like the scribes who had carefully handled the ancient Scriptures — particularly those like Ezra who had “set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach His statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10) — they were to regard their degree of understanding as a solemn and privileged stewardship.

They were to regard themselves as heads of households accessing their treasure, both the old and the new, so that the household needs would be met . . . and that the members of the house might be fed . . . and that the family might be nurtured to maturity and productivity . . . and that those outside the family might be reached with the good news of the kingdom.

So too, for those who, by God’s grace, have ears to hear, we are, in a sense, like a “scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven.” Said by Jesus TO His disciples . . . preserved by the Holy Spirit FOR us. And, as such, we are to be ready to access our treasures of knowledge, insight, and Holy Spirit revealed understanding. Treasure not to be regarded as something of our own intelligence or diligence, but gems freely given by the Spirit of illumination and revelation. Gems, both old and new, to be shared. We, as grace trained scribes, and grace compelled stewards, ready to share the gospel with all who have ears to hear.

That’s what we’re to do with the treasure of the kingdom.

For His glory . . .

 

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