For Joy Thereof

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he 'lath, and buyeth that field." Matt. 13:4444Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44).
Such is one of the three precious parables addressed to the disciples only, after the multitude had been dismissed-Jesus had retired with them into the house. The Lord had just spoken to the people four other parables, the design of which was evidently to represent, more or less, the outward and visible marks of the kingdom with its subjects. True, the sowing of seed introduces, as it were, a thing of mystery. For a while the seed is entirely hidden from view, and the ground to outward appearance, is much the same as before it was sown, but then the parable does not end with the sowing; the seed springs up or otherwise, and the character of the ground is determined by that which is visible to all. In the following parable also we may observe the sowing the bad seed was in the dark; the servants and their master slept, and were alike unaware of what had been done till the tares springing up made the truth fully manifest. The "greatest among herbs," hidden in "the least of all seeds," and the leaven covered over with the meal, are also mysteries, but the rapid growth of the one, and the silent but certain spread of the other produce results which are seen and known to every observer. These all are things which could, in some measure, be comprehended by the multitude, but, " in the house," surrounded by His own disciples, our Lord communicates secrets of a different nature. He tells them, though here in parables, of His own intense, personal interest in them, His value for them, and the cost at which He would buy them for Himself. This lie unfolds to them in the parable above referred to, and much sweetness does it contain for the soul that loves to meditate upon the rich grace of our ever blessed Lord Jesus. The " field" is the world, doubtless, as in the former parables, but what is the " treasure "? Nothing man counts treasure was bestowed upon the lowly Jesus during the day of His sojourn in this selfish world. It gave Him nothing valued for itself; no earthly honors were heaped upon Him though so worthy of all homage, and only a despised handful of heaven-born, heaven-taught souls, sought His company, save from selfish motives. "He was despised and rejected of men," and in such a world, what treasure could He find? Earthly fame and riches He did not seek, or covet; earth's great ones did not know Him, nor did He court their smiles, content in His marvelous humiliation to be unrecognized by them. The kingdoms of this world and the glory of them are all His by inheritance, but they are not His heart's treasure, and for the time He waived His title to them, tacitly admitting in the hour of His temptation, that at present it was all delivered unto Satan, and to whom he would he would give it. No; it was not the world, nor anything it could afford Him, upon which His heart was set, but He "loved the Church, and gave Himself for it;" yea "He loved me, and gave Himself for me," and O, wondrous truth, it is -the Church which is His treasure! A hidden thing, indeed, in the world; unknown to it, but how precious to His heart! For the joy thereof He went and sold all He had. He quite emptied Himself that He might buy the treasure!
Thine is a love eternal,
That found in us its pleasure;
That brought Thee low, to bear our woe,
And make us Thine own treasure.
From another precious scripture we learn that in His grace He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty might be rich, but here a still deeper thing is made known to our hearts, even that Jesus, the appointed heir of all things would part with all He had, in order, as it were, to enrich Himself with what He deemed a treasure! What marvelous love! how suited to humble us before Him, beloved Christian reader, as we think of our own utter worthlessness. And it was for the joy thereof. It was true we had deep, deep necessities, and Jesus would meet these necessities. The majesty of God had been offended, and His Son would, in the very scene of the rebellion, redeem and establish the honor of His throne. The seed of the serpent, too, must be bruised-that arch-enemy of God and man-and the stronger than he would come, and having bound him, would spoil his goods; but none of these things is presented to us here as that which moved the blessed Lord Jesus so to lay aside all His wealth that He might buy the field. No, but the delight of His own heart, in the prospect of having for his treasure, by right of purchase, the church so loved by Him. Oh, my beloved fellow-believer, if our hearts are possessed of any sensibility, will they not be moved to their inmost depths in answer to such incomprehensible love as this? He sold "all that He had" to redeem us for Himself. Should anything be counted too costly to lay at His feet? What thing that we really valued have we given up for Him? What pleasure that we knew He could not fully sympathize with, have we foregone for His sake? Oh, let us take ourselves to task in this way, seeking His grace to esteem Himself our choicest treasure, and count all else but loss. And, further, may all we do for Him be done " for the joy thereof," not simply as a matter of duty, and still less from a spirit of fear, but from very love to Himself as the blessed object of our hearts' delight, and from overflowing joy in the prospect of soon being at home with Him, enjoying the reality of what is now "that blessed hope," the "joy set before us." Our Lord Jesus has made us His own, and reckons us His treasure, and where His treasure is, there are His interests also. If He is our treasure, our hearts are with Him where He is, and in nowise set on the world that has disowned Him. May it be manifest to all who observe us that our treasure, as our conversation, is indeed in heaven. " Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; set your minds on things above."
W. T.