Jesus tells us another parable about the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 13.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
In contrast to the parable of the fine pearl where the merchant was intentionally looking for the special pearl, this farmer seems to have accidentally discovered something of great value.
He was surprised by joy.
His spiritual blinders were instantly removed and he immediately saw the priceless value in what he found.
Some people come to faith in Christ through an intense searching – the merchant looking for the fine pearl.
Other people might come to faith by a seemingly instant awakening or discovery upon hearing the message for the very first time.
CS Lewis, Surprised by Joy
CS Lewis lost his mother to cancer before he was 10.
He felt bitterness towards God and by 18, he considered Christianity “one myth among many.”
He writes however, that in his hostility towards God, there were influences in his life. He began reading some Christian authors, and was surrounded by other Christians like JR Tolkien. He writes:
“I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.
There are traps everywhere…. God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”
As he tells the story, on one occasion during this time he happened to take a bus ride.
When he got on the bus he was an atheist.
When he came to his stop, he got off the bus believing in God’s existence.
Not that Lewis was seeking God. He said he didn’t really want to find him. The revelation about God’s existence was something of a fright to him. He wrote in Surprised by Joy:
“Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about ‘man’s search for God.’ To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat.”
There was an awakening that happened in his heart, a discovery of God’s love for him that started his process of searching. A historian writes that 2 years later, he fully surrendered his heart, mind, and self to Christ.
[Source: CS Lewis history]
He was surprised by joy. He had found the treasure in the field when he wasn’t really looking for it.
I think of my friend who needs to find new life in Christ
I look at her life and don’t not see any evidence of searching for God.
I don’t hear themes of spiritual thirst in her conversation. In fact, I see a hostility towards God, much like what CS Lewis may have had.
Right now, she is not the merchant looking for the fine pearl.
It is my prayer that she stumbles upon the treasure hidden in the field and is surprised by joy.
When it comes to my friend, I pray for her conversion to happen. I pray that I will get the opportunity to share the gospel with her.
I pray that she will find the grace that has captured me and experience the presence of God. I pray that others will share the gospel with her. I want her conversion to be genuine, real, and effective.
I want to know her conversion has been made by the Holy Spirit, not my slick presentation, or her desperate grasping for a lifeline because it might work and she have nothing to loose.
I want my friend to find the treasure in the field and see immediately its amazing worth.
Lord, you know the spiritual condition of the heart within those that I am praying for.
I pray that you would lead some of them to accidentally discover the treasure in the field and that in that instant, their eyes would be open to the priceless message of the gospel.
You are capable of awakening the heart in an instant – may they have the eyes to see their need for you, and be surprised by joy.
Pray through your list of names, one name at a time.
Linger in prayer over them, asking God to show you their spiritual thirst. If there doesn’t appear to be any, spend some time interceding that they would discover the treasure in the field.