Jesus said the way to heaven was like finding treasure in a field or discovering a fine pearl of great value (Matthew 13:44-46). In July 2009 a metal detector unearthed ‘The Staffordshire Hoard’, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasures ever found, and which was valued by the British Museum at £3.28million. Terry Herbert, aged 55 and a jobless council tenant on disability benefit, discovered the hoard while searching the field near the M6 toll road between Lichfield and Tamworth, using his 14 year old metal detector. The haul of over one thousand items – most of it gold and silver – dated back to between 675 and 725AD and made Mr Herbert an extremely rich man!

Then, a little over a year later, another extremely valuable hoard of Roman coins – the weight of two men – was found. Another metal detector enthusiast unearthed the second largest haul of Roman coins ever found in Britain. David Crisp, a 63-year-old hospital chef, found the 52,503 coins in a single earthenware pot in a field near Frome, Somerset.

Now, imagine there’s a piece of land up for sale near where you live, and you ask permission to go into the field with your metal detector, and there you find a hoard of buried treasure, more valuable than you can possibly imagine. Quickly, you bury the treasure again, and then you go off and liquidate all your assets, and you sell everything you own so that you can go back and buy the field and own the treasure for yourself. And even though it cost you everything you have you make the trade joyfully because you know the treasure will last way beyond your, and your family’s, lifetime. – Jesus said that is what God’s kingdom is like. If we really understood it, if we really knew how wonderful it is, then we’d sell everything we own and give up everything we had to gain entry into it, if we had to do (which fortunately, we don’t, because someone else has paid the entry fee for us).

R. Ian Seymour