This family service talk on Matthew 13v44-46 was given today at the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge:

Have you ever bought something that wasn’t worth the cost? I once made the mistake of buying a pasty for lunch from a trendy café in London – it was a more expensive pasty than I normally buy and it was not very good. It wasn’t properly warmed and it didn’t taste very nice. The upmarket pasty was not worth the cost.

In Jesus’s stories about the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price, the treasure hunter gave up all he had to buy the field with the treasure in it and likewise the merchant gave up all he had to buy the pearl of great price

Why did they sell all they had to get these things? Because the treasure and the pearl were worth it. They were worth the cost.

Jesus told those two stories to show how incredibly valuable the kingdom of heaven is. You and I join the kingdom of heaven when we believe and trust in the King of it, who is the Lord Jesus Christ and we become his followers. We belong to the kingdom of heaven when we become Christians, when we believe the good news of the Lord Jesus.

The two stories about the treasure hunter and the merchant show the right way to respond to the good news of Jesus’s kingdom. A true follower of King Jesus thinks and behaves like the two men in the parable.

Anything I may need to give up for the kingdom of heaven – anything I may need to give up to follow King Jesus is worth the cost because the kingdom of heaven is that good. It’s so good being in the kingdom of heaven that it’s worth anything I may give up for it – my popularity, my wealth, my comfort, my time, even my life if someone threatens to take it away because I am a follower of the Lord Jesus.

Threats to their lives because they believe in the Lord Jesus are certainly the price our Christian brothers and sisters in our link diocese of Jos, Nigeria, are having to pay.

The kingdom of heaven is worth the cost because it lasts for ever and it lasts for ever because the King of it, the Lord Jesus, rose from the dead and so rules it for ever. My money, my popularity, my wealth, my earthly life do not last for ever but the kingdom the risen Lord Jesus is King of does last for ever.

It’s that good, so the cost is worth it. People who realise how good the kingdom of heaven it do not complain about the cost. So I shouldn’t complain about the time it takes, about the money I may give to it, about the friends I may lose because of it, about the discomfort I may suffer because of Jesus’ kingdom, and about having to change because I belong to it.

The kingdom of heaven is so good. It’s the treasure hidden in the field that the man sold everything he had to buy, it’s the pearl of great price that the merchant sold everything he had to buy.

Following the Lord Jesus, the everlasting king of love, is worth everything we are and everything we’ve got. The kingdom of heaven really is the most precious prize you and I could ever find

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