‘When (a merchant) finds (a pearl) of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.’
Matthew, the tax collector evangelist, liked to use business images to encourage the follower of Christ to make a good bargain and become a more active member of God’s kingdom. He uses the image of a merchant who identifies the valuable treasure and does everything he can to get hold of it. When Jesus asks, “what will you pay to belong to my kingdom?” will your reply be “no price is too high”?
Let’s examine what is of value. It would be wonderful to find a true friend who had the power to make your future brighter. Matthew says that Jesus is that person because he can promise you friendship with God which begins now and never ends. Jesus has come down from heaven to invite you to live well. Welcome to the great challenge of faith! Follow him and you will find your heart’s desire in living a simple, humble life in God’s kingdom. He is indeed the servant of God active among mankind. Test his word and his promises for yourself. Walking with Jesus is the way to everlasting treasure.
Jesus assumes that we are all trying to do better for ourselves, to improve prospects for the family and for happy, peaceful, joyful relationships and friendships. It may mean searching for a better standard of living because that provides the chance for us to make a difference in God’s kingdom. We are searching like the merchant in the story to do better and be better. Ask yourself what gives you most satisfaction? Is it not seeing someone else grow and flourish? Forget yourself, that’s the best way to find happiness. Love of neighbour is what really makes the difference between riches and poverty. No price is too high to get the reward of discovering God’s will in the midst of everyday living and helping others to follow that way.
You have heard the phrase ‘walk the walk’ rather than ‘talk the talk’. To walk the walk is love of neighbour in action. I heard of two friends who went out shopping and found a real bargain. It was very bulky so there was no room in the car for both of them and the valuable purchase. So one walked home and let the other drive the car. Isn’t that what you would want? You would love someone else to make your future happy and prosperous. It would be amazing to be able to presume on a friend who would take on a burden for you and promote your prospects. In fact Jesus is such a friend. That is the essence of his good news. He has made things new for our benefit.
He says, “Have faith in my promise to open your eyes to see into God’s kingdom. I have given up my life to make things right for you. So my advice is: give up anything that would lead you astray. A dodgy business deal, a selfish attachment, bad companionship, laziness and greed, lack of energy in doing your duty. Leave them all aside and instead get into the habit of prayerfulness. Through me and with me God the Father cares for you and will help you. I have given you followers to guide you, and a book of life to inspire you, and the spirit of God’s presence to enlighten you, and a sense of family in the Church. Life-long selfishness only leads others and yourself into disaster. Have you understood this?” Jesus asks.
Some people get it and some don’t. Some people pretend they get it, and don’t act as if they do. Jesus says that he has come to give you a new perspective on the ancient wisdom you and your ancestors already know. His message is well tested in its wisdom and up to date in its application to your life here and now. Are you willing to pay the price of living the simple life that he proposes? Matthew wrote a gospel to tell the good news about God the Father and about Jesus God’s best guide on earth and your best way to eternal happiness. The reformed tax collector says that no price is too high to get in on this deal!