Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Tucker
When I’m shopping at a thrift store or flea market and something catches my eye, the first thing I do is look at the price tag. The second thing I do is ask myself if there’s anywhere to put it in my home! In these second-time-around stores, I’ve discovered magnificent old family portraits that should have been displayed in a loved one’s home because they are beautiful treasures. I’m saddened when I see precious family pictures being offered for some stranger to purchase. Why weren’t these photos treated with love, honor and respect and kept in the family? Because the treasure was treated as a trinket of little value.
When Jesus taught His disciples the parable about the hidden treasure a man discovered on a plot of land, He was not implying that we can purchase or work our way into heaven. “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 MLT). He was teaching a serious truth that the kingdom of heaven is of such great value that we should be willing to give up all we have in order to gain it. Since there were no banks, treasure was often buried in fields for safekeeping. The supreme value of the hidden treasure (the kingdom of heaven) is worth more than the sacrifice one can make to acquire it.
It’s worth the cost for believers to follow Christ and live according to His Word. And then when our last breath is drawn, heaven will be worth the price of not compromising our conscience, devotion to God, integrity, reputation, loyalty, and faithfulness. Whatever it costs us to obey God and do the right thing is worth it. Keeping our eyes on The Prize is key. Of course, Christ followers must realize we can’t be so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly value. Everything we do must be weighed and compared against the individualized assignment God gave us. It’s easy to get sidetracked and bumfuzzled when we ignore our calling, forget the treasure, and go our own way. Being the hands and feet of Jesus is worth the cost of personal sacrifice.
We’re trained for the Kingdom of Heaven while we live on planet earth. Our routine life is the daily battlefield where we get to activate our training. Dad trained for 16 weeks at Camp Fannin, Texas before he was shipped out to the frontlines of Germany in 1944. Army training and spiritual training are similar. If we don’t learn to respect authority, follow instructions, and pay attention to our enemy, we won’t be on the survivor list.
The song, “Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All” was written in 1946 with lyrics by W. Oliver Cooper. I usually share the lyrics of a mentioned song, but in this case the title says it all. We mustn’t think of heaven as a natural occurrence at the end of the rainbow of life. We can’t merely hope, do good deeds, or buy our way into heaven. Nor can we ignore the glorious treasure of it and stuff it into an empty drawer. One day a bystander asked Jesus, “Lord, will only a few have eternal life?” Jesus responded to the crowd, “There is a great cost for anyone to enter through the narrow doorway to God’s kingdom realm. I tell you, there will be many who will want to enter but won’t be able to. For once the head of the house has shut and locked the door, it will be too late” (Luke 13:24,25 TPT). Eternal life is a priceless gift for the child of God, not an earned reward.
The Key: The Kingdom of Heaven is a treasure and not a trinket to be treated lightly.