The man had money, so I wasn’t surprised when he pulled out his wallet and showed me what a $500 bill looked like. Why was the face of President William McKinley on that bill and not someone more important?
“I carry it,” he said, “in case of an emergency.”
What was that $500 bill worth? Nothing, I decided, because he had no intention of ever spending it.
The value of anything is determined by what people are willing to pay and why. That man’s feeling of security was worth $500 to him. At the time, I’d have felt rich and secure with $100 in the bank.
I’m often amazed at what collectors will bid for something that will be locked away, unused. Last year, the rare “Inverted Jenny,” a postage stamp with an upside-down biplane, sold at auction for over a million dollars. An 1856 one-cent stamp from British Guiana sold for 9.5 million.
These bidders weren’t buying stamps, or they would have gone to their local post office. No, they were willing to pay top dollar to own what they considered to be a treasure.
Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man finding a treasure hidden in a field. To have that treasure, he sacrificed everything to buy the whole field. Why? Not for the field, but for the treasure in the field—which required purchase of the entire field. This is what Jesus did, sacrificing his life for the sake of the world so he could gain the treasure of those who surrender their lives to him.
The Kingdom of Heaven is like hidden treasure buried in a field. When a man found the treasure, he was overcome with joy. He buried the treasure, sold everything he owned, and bought the field. — Matthew 13:44 from Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story