I love reading Jesus’ parables; they challenge me to think deeper and find spiritual truths. They’re simple stories, based on everyday life, that teach a spiritual principle. In essence, parables are lower stories that have an upper story thrown alongside to reveal Jesus. Let’s look at one.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Matthew 13:44 NLT
So … a guy is walkin’ along, minding his own business, and discovers something. It doesn’t say he tripped or even noticed this treasure box but regardless, he found it. This treasure, the lower story, was undoubtedly buried by someone wanting to keep it from intruders. Simple enough but where’s the upper story?
Consider this: It’s God and God alone who determines a soul to receive revelation of Himself; notice that the treasure was hidden, out of sight. There’s no good in man that causes him to desire God because we all start out as sinners, unable to come to Him. It’s His grace, undeserved favor, that draws us to Jesus: He is the hidden treasure. The guy wasn’t looking for treasure, it seems he accidentally found it. Accidentally? I don’t think so; we call it divine providence.
For no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws them to Me … John 6:44a NLT
It’s all about Him.
The second part, the clincher, has more spiritual truths that we need to consider. What’s the man’s next move? He reburies it. What? He doesn’t run and tell everyone? He doesn’t evangelize the neighborhood? No. The upper story discloses that it’s a secret work God begins in our hearts, an intimate work where the love and grace of Jesus is revealed to a sinner’s heart.
This natural man reburies but doesn’t abandon the treasure. He didn’t reject it; he embraced it with joy and excitement but privately, for a time. When we are drawn to Jesus He begins an inner work in our hearts, a secret work, private, and intimate, much like burying the treasure again.
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Luke 12:34 NLT
The last part is the hardest for us. Yes, he unintentionally found Jesus, our Treasure, however, he didn’t stop there. The story tells us that in his joy and new sense of well-being, he sold everything he had and bought the field where the treasure was reburied. That’s the lower story. The upper story, the spiritual truth, is that when the Father draws us to Jesus what do we do with all that joy? There’s a selling or trade that needs to be made by us as well: our old, sinful life in exchange for His new life. That’s quite a bargain.
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 NLT