This was written by my father many years ago. He was a pastor and a theologian. He died in 1960 of an untimely death.
October 7, 1956
by Arthur Hanson
Here is a man plowing his field enjoying the air and absorbed in his thoughts, and he follows the plow he suddenly stumbles over something protruding from the ground.
Picking himself up, he looks at the sharp corner of some kind of box. Curiously he scratches and digs a little and in a little time he is prying open the lid. And when he looks inside there before him is something of priceless value — a real treasure.
The box is too heavy to carry so he decides to cover it up again. Possibly he was renting that field from another man. At any rate, he quickly goes to sell everything he had so as to buy the field.
Here is another man who is a jeweler or at least a merchant, who has as one of his products precious jewels. He is astute and no doubt, a wealthy man who knows a good thing when he sees it.
In Jesus’ time the pearl was a precious item especially those of large proportions and beautiful color. The merchant came across just such a pearl in his travel.
Here was the chance of a lifetime; so he too sold everything he had and bought the pearl.
There is a noted difference in these two stories.
The former is about a man who was not looking for anything unusual — he just happened upon it.
Many people are like that. They live their life day in and day out going through the tiring duties of each day — weighted down by the failures of yesterday which take away from the promises of tomorrow.
Several months ago a man was talking to me about children and he said, “Everything is a thrill to a youngster, but when you get older the thrill is gone — you know what to expect around the next corner or over the next hill.”
I felt a little sad about what he said. But it is so true that many people are not especially expecting anything thrilling in life.
The second story, however, reveals the many who do search. The many who have found no answer to their dreams, no adequate explanation to their questions, nothing that gives genuine and lasting satisfaction.
These are the people who are looking for something good in this world of counterfeits. They have been fooled too many times by empty promises and worthless bargains to be easily taken in.
They are searching for goodly pearls and they intend to examine and investigate every market.
Perhaps it is true that the poor are more apt to be among those not expecting any treasure. Life seems to hold only drudgery and heartache.
On the other hand, the rich constantly have the feeling that they are just about to find something that will make them happy.
But more likely it is true that we are all a mixture of both of these elements. We are all after all, poor.
Our moral attainments are pretty paltry — our own righteousness is as filthy rags. And too often we are tempted to feel that life holds the same drab experience tomorrow that it had today.
But at the same time we are seekers, searching for goodly pearls. There is the urge for something better and the belief that it can be found if we will only look for it.
We know that money is good, but not without friendship; friendship is good, but not outside a higher devotion; devotions to art and music and science is good, but not without a clear conscience; a clear conscience is good but impossible without forgiveness.
The thoughtful and careful man is ever dissatisfied with the moderate joys. Earth-bound prize even in the noble court of King Arthur could not hold Lancelot and Galahad. They sought the Holy Grail.
But though there is this apparent distinction between those who search and those who do not — there is the obvious similarity in these stories that both men do find a treasure. And that treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That treasure is the message on the lips of Jesus when we stand guilty at the cross of having crucified our Lord, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
When we become tired and irritable and tension-filled, that treasure is in the words,
“My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives give I unto you.”
When we are afraid of defeat and sorely beset by temptation, we are made rich by the assurance,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
And when our hearts would almost break with the distress and trouble in the world, sickness and suffering, sin and selfishness, suffering and death, we are lifted up on the wings of heaven by Jesus’ words,
“That my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.”
Jesus is truly a treasure — He is the pearl of great price. If a person has truly found Him and discovered that He is just that, it won’t be difficult to see.
Like the farmer who found a treasure in his field, or the merchant who discovered a gorgeous pearl, the person who has really met Jesus will sell all that he has to be His.
Too often we speak of the sacrifices of the Christian life. There was no sacrifice for the farmer to sell what he had; he was expecting to get a treasure of immensely more value.
The merchant had seen many fine pearls, but that day he rushed to sell every pearl he owned that he might possess the one supreme jewel.
Listen to the Apostle Paul, in the 3rd chapter of Philippians,
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”
Where there is not a joyful abandon of all things for the sake of Christ, such a person has whither not discovered that treasure of is beginning to lose it.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?