In automotive-speak a barn find is akin to discovering the Holy Grail. With it comes the joy of the person who has just stumbled upon the fountain of youth: “It just doesn’t get any better than this!”
As barn finds go, if you discover a four-wheel classic resting like a time capsule in someone’s garage, or under a tarp in their back yard, or collecting dust in the corner of the family barn, a true car guy is going to do whatever it takes to buy that baby and park it in his lot.
Why? Because it’s valuable. As car collectors know and preach, “It’s only original once” so you’ve got to pay the price and do everything within your power to get that car!
In Matthew 13, Jesus gives us the first-century equivalent of a barn find.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46 ESV
What Jesus treats as the barn find of history is the kingdom of heaven. Writing about this kingdom, Richard Lenski says:
Matthew alone writes "the kingdom of heaven," and he does so at least 32 times; the [other gospel writers] write "the kingdom of God," which is found only a few times in Matthew's Gospel. The distinction is merely formal; one and the same kingdom is referred to. [It is] the kingdom which belongs to the heavens, belongs to God. . . . the kingdom whose very nature is that of heaven . . . the kingdom that God rules. We are not really subjects in God's kingdom but partakers of it, i.e., of God's rule and kingship; earthly kingdoms have only subjects.
The kingdom is not just going to church, giving money, serving in a ministry, or even just participating in communion. It is the wonderful rule and reign of Jesus in your life and in this world. The kingdom, made possible by Jesus' death and resurrection, encompasses so much:
- It is righteousness that Jesus deposits to your bankrupt spiritual account.
- It is the heavenly pardon that God gives you so you can live free.
- It is being adopted as a son or daughter of the heavenly Father.
- It is forgiveness for your failures and peace for your anxieties.
- It is joy unspeakable, hope unflappable, and love that is unquenchable.
- It is the promise of God’s presence & power now and life with him forever.
- It is being part of the church, the one sure thing on heaven and earth.
- It is being a citizen of his kingdom that is unstoppable.
- It is already a reality and not yet all that it will be.
Jesus uses the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price to help us understand the priceless nature of his kingdom. Interestingly, the parables also reveal two ways people discover it. Look closely and you will see that one guy stumbled upon this treasure, the other guy went searching for it. Here is the point Jesus is making:
Jesus is showing us the barn find of history. Its value is beyond comprehension. The question is, "What are we going to do about it?” Let me suggest five responses to Jesus and his kingdom:
- Follow the King: If you have not yet said, "Jesus, I give up everything to follow you!" Do it today.
- Identify with his kingdom daily: Remind yourself of this truth: I am a child of the King and a citizen of his kingdom; a kingdom that is here, is growing, and will be glorious and impossible to ignore.
- Rest in the reality of the kingdom: Despite the uncertain times in which we live, the Scriptures make it clear that God is sovereign, in control, and that he has the last word in the final scene of history. His kingdom will come in its fullness. See Psalm 73; Psalm 46:1, 6, 10. Anchor your heart to that truth.
- Steward well your life as a kingdom citizen: Conduct a “kingdom audit.” Honestly assess your love for God (heart, soul, mind, and strength), your engagement in his kingdom, and your stewardship of the time, talents, and treasures he has entrusted to you. What needs to change to hear his "Well done my good and faithful servant!"?
- Prioritize the kingdom: Navigate your life by the kingdom compass. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). What does it look like for you to do that today?
Jesus is showing us his kingdom -- the barn find of life. When it comes to the kingdom, whether you stumble upon it or search for it, you gladly sacrifice everything—because it’s worth more than anything.
- I took the photo used in today's devotional post while Shannan and I were on the Hot Rod Power Tour, traveling between Gulfport, MS and Gonzalez, LA.
- Barn finds links and pictures from www.hotrod.com.
- "Matthew alone writes ... " from The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel by R.C.H. Lenski. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House. 1943. Pages 93-94.
- Today's post from Don't Ask The Fish comes from Sunday's message, The Pearl of Great Price. You can hear or watch the message in its entirety by clicking here.