44 “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. 45 Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! 47 Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. 48 When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. 49 That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, 50 throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 Do you understand all these things?”
“Yes,” they said, “we do.”
52 Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.”
53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. 54 He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” 55 Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. 56 All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” 57 And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” 58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
These shorter parables, really just word-pictures of the kingdom of God, reinforce what we’ve been seeing all week in this chapter. Here, it makes sense to sell everything to buy a field with hidden treasure, since the value of the land plus the treasure will be more than the investment in just the land. But how does it make sense for a merchant to sell everything to buy one pearl? How much return on that investment can he realistically expect? The point here is to move us away from the return on investment mindset which seems to color so much of what we do and how we go about our everyday lives. This is not a case of pulling off a shrewd business move. This is about the kindgom of God being of such inestimable value that even giving up everything you have to gain it is well worth it. Growth will occur, as we saw yesterday and again here with the fishermen, but on kingdom terms, not on ROI terms, not as the result of a pre-formulated recipe for worldly success. True growth involves more people taking the same leap of faith the merchant did.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.