The Story of the Treasure and the Pearl

WELCOME to our great “mining expedition” into the Gospel of Matthew.

Today, I want to preach the simple message, “I found something more valuable.”
Declare this powerful line.

Truth: Every decision boils down to value.

Why do you spend on a family trip instead of a designer bag? Because you value your relationships. Why do you walk around the village instead of binge-watch Netflix? Because you value your health.

Whenever you can’t make a decision, it simply means you don’t know what is important to you. You haven’t found what is more valuable.

The two short parables today are about making such value judgements. Jesus said, “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. 45 Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:44-46 NLT)

Welcome to Talk 3 of our series OG Tales, Story of the Treasure and the Pearl.

In Talk 1, we mentioned that the Jesus parables are not like Aesop’s fables. They’re not just simple stories with a nice lesson, like “Be good” or “Respect the Elderly” or “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Honestly, that’s how most people read the Bible. Most see the Bible as children’s stories.

But may I invite you to graduate and go deeper? To read the Bible in context. To use the eyeglasses of the original Biblical authors.

Let me repeat what we said two weeks ago: Aesop’s Fables will tell you to be good, but the Parables will tell you to follow Jesus—and He will be the One to make you radically good.

The Star of The Story Is…

Friend, if you read the parables in context, you’ll realize the parables are all about Jesus.

Let me give you one example.

Whenever people read the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), the take-home message is, “Be kind to the Suffering.” And that’s absolutely right.

But what was the context? When did Jesus say this parable? The Pharisees were asking Jesus why He was hanging out with tax collectors and drunkards and prostitutes. So, Jesus told them this parable.

Point: Jesus is the Good Samaritan. And that the tax collectors and sinners were the wounded person on the road. It’s the same with the two parables we’re unpacking today. They’re all about Jesus. Jesus is the Hidden Treasure. And Jesus is the Pearl of the Great Price.

I have one penetrating question for you: Are you willing to give up anything for Jesus?

If you can’t answer that question with a resounding yes, that’s fine.

Confession: There were many times in my life when I couldn’t either. I had so many attachments I couldn’t let go. That’s why we’re the wounded person lying on
the road. And Jesus is the Good Samaritan. He’s hanging out with us, sinners, not because we’re perfect, but because we need Him.

Say this prayer with me: Jesus, I want You to be my Hidden Treasure and my Pearl of Great Price. On my own, I can’t do this, but with Your power, I’ll be able to give up anything and everything that prevents me from following You totally. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

First Parable: Richie Rich

Let’s read the first parable again. It’s so short, the entire parable is just one verse: “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.” (v.44)

In ancient times, they had no banks like ours today. So, if people owned treasure, the most common “bank” people used was the earth beneath their feet. They dug a hole in their backyard and hid the treasure there.

Just to make it a little more graphic, let’s put our imagination to work and retell this parable…

Once upon a time, there was a man—let’s call him Richie—who was walking on someone else’s field. Suddenly, he stumbled forward. Quickly, he picked
himself up the ground, dusted himself, and said, “Kaya n’yo yan?”

Richie looked back, wondering at what caused him to fall. He found what it was: a curious object protruding from the soil. It actually looked like the edge of a box. He got excited. He dug and dug and dug, and lo and behold, it was a treasure chest. Richie lifted the lid and his eyes couldn’t believe it. Inside the box were gold and silver!

Immediately, he knew what to do. Richie returned the box in the ground, covered the box with soil, and ran off to his home. He then told all his neighbors, “Come to my house tomorrow. I’m holding a giant Garage Sale!”

And whatever he wasn’t able to sell face-to-face, he sold on FB marketplace. Below the photos of his stuff, he wrote this caption: “Everything must go.”

His neighbors, who bought his stuff, asked him, “What’s wrong, Richie? Why are you selling all the valuable stuff?”

Richie explained, “I found something more valuable.”

Finally, Richie gathered all the money he made from selling his stuff and marched to the owner of the field, and said, “I want to buy your field!”

The owner, perturbed by the sudden offer, said, “I don’t recall I was selling it…”

But Richie said, “I’ll give you everything I have,” showing him a large bag filled with cash.

The owner was shocked by the amount of money being offered and said, “Okaaaay, if you insist…”

After signing the contract, Richie became the proud owner of the field and the treasure inside it. And that’s the story of how Richie became Richie Rich.

Second Parable: Macky The Merchant

Let’s read the second parable that’s very similar. “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (v.45-46)

Let’s call this guy Macky The Merchant.

Macky was a pearl expert and he went around buying and selling pearls. So, imagine one day, a woman came up to him and said, “I think you will like this pearl. It’s very special. One-of-a-kind. But it will cost you…”

The woman pulled out a folded piece of cloth from her pocket. When she unfolds it in front of him, revealing an object, Macky’s jaw drops. It was beautiful beyond words. It was shimmering under the sunlight and it sparkled with gorgeous hues. Macky had never seen such a pearl in his entire life. Immediately, he knew this was a turning point in his career as a pearl merchant. The woman quoted him an astronomical price, and Macky was not surprised. He ran off and started selling ALL the pearls in his collection.

Then, he posted on Instagram, “Everything must go.”

When he already had the cash, he went back to the woman and bought the “pearl of great price.”

God Is Searching for You

The difference between the two parables is that Richie Rich was not looking for treasure, but Macky the Merchant was. Macky was actively searching for “choice pearls”.

And aren’t these the two ways we find God? Some search for Him, others stumble upon Him.

Our founder, Bro. Bo Sanchez, stumbled upon Him. He wasn’t searching for Him.

He said, “I was a 12-year-old kid more interested in Superman and Voltes V Robots, but my parents had other plans. They carted all their six kids to the second floor of a corner house where a small Catholic prayer meeting was being held. In the 1970s, parents didn’t ask if their kids wanted to go with them. They just said, ‘Dress up. We’re going somewhere.’”

But in that tiny gathering of 30 persons, he met Jesus in a powerful way and his life has never been the same.

Unlike Bro. Bo, at the age of 27, I was searching for meaning and purpose. I was a successful entrepreneur, but I was going through a failed relationship.

I was looking for something that was missing in my life. I was looking for peace.

That’s when I met Jesus at

The Feast. I searched for Him and I found Him.

But whether you’re searching or not searching, please know: God is searching for you.

God is the Eternal Suitor.

Today, He is trying to win your heart.

My dear friend, there is a heavenly treasure that’s waiting for you to discover. And when you find it… Or let me re-word this: And when you find Him, you won’t hesitate to give up your earthly treasure. Why?

Because… say it again with me: I found something more valuable.

But Will You Say Yes to This Suitor?

If you notice, in both stories, “everything must go”.

Man, those two parables are intense.

Is this what it means to follow Jesus?

I remember talking to a young guy who told me, “I don’t go to church.

I’m a good guy. I don’t harm anyone.”

Not harming anyone is great.

But is this what following Jesus means?

I imagine the disciples listening to these two parables, and each one’s heart must be beating loud — because they saw themselves in Richie Rich and Macky
the Merchant. Because as we read a few pages ago, Peter, Andrew, James, and John left their boats and nets and families for Jesus. And a few chapters ago, Matthew left his tax collector’s table for Jesus.

And if you asked why, each disciple will answer,

“I found something more valuable.”

Which brings us to the great irony of God’s Love: People say it’s free. It’s gratis. No price tag. You don’t buy it. You just receive it.

And that’s all true.

But the moment you receive it, it will cost you everything.

Discipleship means death. Following Jesus means you leave everything. Is it painful? Absolutely. But not just painful.

It’s Happy Too

There is such a thing as Happy Sacrifice.

The guys in the two parables were very happy giving up everything they owned because they found something more valuable.

Here’s an analogy. Imagine a young woman who is struggling with her weight. She complains that every time she inhales, she gains two pounds.

Sadly, this girl has a very immature jerk for a boyfriend who gives her an ultimatum: “I’m a little ashamed walking around someone that looks like Jabba the Hutt (fat gangster in the film Star Wars) Lose weight or lose me.”

Tearfully, she goes on a diet. I’m not an expert in dieting, but from what I know, a diet will never work if it’s not a happy sacrifice.

In her mind, she is weighing—pun intended— between two values: A thick slice of moist chocolate cake on one hand and her horrible boyfriend on the other. And the answer is very obvious. The chocolate cake is more desirable than the jerk. And so, she gives up the guy and the diet.

But a year later, a new suitor comes along. And he tells her, “I love you as you are. I don’t care about your body’s shape or size. But I want you to be healthy. Because I want to grow old with you.” This young woman is stunned and mumbles beneath her breath, “This guy is a keeper.”

So, she decides to go on a diet again. But this time, there’s another thing on the imaginary weighing scale in her mind. The thick slice of moist chocolate cake on one hand, and on the other, her future life with this interesting guy who wants to grow old with her. And she’s able to keep her diet because she finds something more valuable than the cake.

Life Is a Journey of Letting Go

Friend, I believe that a beautiful life is made up
of a lot of happy sacrifices. This is true if you follow God.

When I look back at my own spiritual journey over the past 40 years, I’ve noticed how I had to say “everything must go” at various times so I could hold on to the hidden treasure.

Let me share 5 examples of letting go at different stages of my life…

It’s still a sacrifice. But it’s a happy one.

When I Was 13, It Was TV

I loved television.

There was no Google then, but if my sisters wanted to know what show was showing at what day and what time, I was their Google.

My sisters would ask me, “Bo, what’s showing on Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 9?”

Without batting an eyelash, I’d say, “Little House On a Prairie starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert.” (Prehistoric facts today.)

But one day, I heard God telling me to give it all up. Can you imagine how difficult that was for a 13-year-old kid who worshipped that box?

But I quit, cold turkey. And all of a sudden, I had all these free hours in my hands to serve God in ministry and read spiritual books. It was difficult, but it was a happy sacrifice because I loved Jesus and the spiritual growth.

When I Was 20, It Was My Romantic Relationship

When I hit 20, I knew my girlfriend and I weren’t ready for a lasting relationship. And I also felt God was telling us that it was wise to give each other up. So, we broke up and I didn’t have a girlfriend until I felt I was ready for a long, lasting relationship. I didn’t know that my next girlfriend would be coming 11 years later, and she’s the lovely woman I’m married to now.

When I Was 30, It Was My Poverty Mindset

For almost 18 years, I saw myself as a poor missionary. I took pride in the fact that I had zero money. I never saw myself in any other way. But before hitting 30, I felt God was calling me to be a new type of missionary that was also an entrepreneur—and later—a financial teacher. I knew I’d get persecuted. I knew some of my friends might abandon me. But I went for it anyway.

When I Was in My Mid-30s, It Was My Workaholism

This happened when I was raising my young family.

I loved what I was doing so much, I was an incurable workaholic.

I was unstoppable. But when I got married and we had babies, I felt God inviting me to let go of my workaholism so that I could discover Him in my family. So, instead of doing adrenalin-pumping work like writing and preaching and transforming the world, I found myself sitting on the floor, playing Pokemon with my boys. If you grew up in the 1990s, you know Pokemon is a series of Japanese video games involving trading cards and television programs featuring cartoon monsters, captured by players and trained to battle each other. Anyway, God was telling me, “Meet me here!” And I did. And it was a happy sacrifice.

When I Was in My Mid-40s, It Was My Prosperity

When I was 45, my small businesses and investments were growing.

And I became extra generous with my income.

But one day, I felt God wanted me to give more.

I was shocked. “Really, Lord? That much?”

At first, I couldn’t understand how I could give more. I felt it was impossible. But I felt God was challenging me, “Will you trust me?”

And I did. Every year, I feel like He’s asking me to be even more generous.

By His mercy, He continues to bless me and my prosperity has multiplied.

Were the sacrifices painful? Yes. Each of them was.

But they were happy too.

For one reason: “I found something more valuable.”

His name is Jesus.

I pray you choose Him too.

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