October 14 (Daily reading: Matthew 13; Luke 8) In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus told two short parables, “the Hidden Treasure” and “the Pearl of Great Price.” The emphasis is on the immense value of the treasure and the pearl. They are compared to the kingdom of Heaven (the kingdom of God), which is more valuable than anything that a person can possess. The discovery was so wonderful, and the value so great, that the one who found the treasure or pearl sold all that they had so that they could buy it. These stories are not about financial value; they tell us instead that belonging to the kingdom of God should be the highest priority in our life! Paul emphasized the great value of knowing Christ: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).
If the kingdom of God is that wonderful and important, we must ask, “How can we possess it?” Jesus answered that question in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-9). It describes a farmer who is sowing seed. There were four types of soil, but only one of them provides the answer to our question. Some of the seed “fell on the good soil.” Jesus later explained what He meant by the good soil: “This is the man who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit” (Mt. 13:23). We belong to the kingdom of God if the good soil describes us—a person who has an open and receptive heart, a person who hears, who understands, who believes, and who obeys God’s word. “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
– Al Gary