Sunday, 2 May 2021
Title: Hidden Treasure
By Elder Bryan Lee. 李惠隆
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
How much do you think Alaska, the largest state (424 million acres) in the US is worth today? In 1876, Russia sold Alaska to the US government for 7.2 million US dollars. That is the average listing price of a bungalow in Singapore. The then Secretary of State William H. Seward was heavily criticized for buying a piece of frozen barren land. Critics thought Seward was crazy and called the deal “Seward’s folly.” Seward was laughed at for his willingness to spend so much on “Seward’s icebox.”
But Seward was undeterred and he convinced the American government to purchase. The Senate ratified the treaty that approved the purchase by just one vote. In convincing the US Congress, Seward said, “I am not attracted by the ice and snow of this territory. I am attracted by the abundant treasures buried underground.”
Ultimately, buying Alaska proved to be a very good decision. Major discoveries of gold were made there in the 1880s and 1890s. Today, petroleum transported across the state through a pipeline is Alaska’s richest mineral resource.
In a one verse parable, Jesus talks about the kingdom of heaven as treasure buried underground. This treasure is so valuable that the man would sell everything in exchange. The point of the parable is that everything pales in comparison to the kingdom of heaven. To be a citizen of the kingdom of heaven you must obtain citizenship from the King.
Unlike Alaska, this treasure is not for sale. In fact it is given free of charge to anyone willing to receive it. Sounds ridiculous? Not really. Because the offer of this treasure comes from God the owner of the entire universe and he has put it in writing, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.“ (John 3:16)
As a young man in college, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and 44 years on it’s still the greatest treasure I have received even though through these years God has blessed me with other earthly treasures. This treasure most of all gives me the purpose to live my life on earth. It is this treasure that led apostle Paul, the greatest persecutor of the church in the first century to proclaim, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Phil 3:8)
The treasure of knowing God and being part of his kingdom gives mankind the purpose in life. Without this treasure, man’s existence in this world is meaningless.
Many of us have watched the movie Bohemian Rhapsody about the life of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the hugely successful British rock band Queen. Success had brought him fans all over the world and he had amassed a huge fortune, but in spite of this his life was empty. In one of his last songs, Freddie Mercury asked the question: “Does anybody know what we are living for?”
Shortly before his death in 1991 at the age of 45, he admitted in an interview and said “You can have everything in the world and still be the loneliest man, and that is the most bitter type of loneliness. Success has brought me world idolisation and millions of pounds, but it’s prevented me from having the one thing we all need – a loving, ongoing relationship.”
There is only one relationship that is completely loving and ongoing, and that is our relationship with God. That is the treasure Jesus is talking about in this one verse parable. Without this treasure, life is void of ultimate meaning and purpose.
Sovereign God, you created humankind to have an ever lasting relationship with You in Your kingdom. Some of us have broken this relationship. Help us to re discover this hidden treasure once again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
您认为美国最大的州（4.24亿英亩）阿拉斯加（Alaska）今天的价值是多少？ 1876年，俄罗斯以720万美元的价格将阿拉斯加卖给了美国政府。那是新加坡单层平房的平均上市价格。当时的国务秘书，威廉·蘇厄德（William H. Seward）因购买一块冰冻的贫瘠土地而受到严厉批评。评论家认为这个国务秘书很疯狂，并称这笔交易为“苏厄德的愚蠢”。国务秘书因为愿意在“苏厄德的冰柜”上花那么多钱而被嘲笑。
作为一个在上大学的年轻人，我接受了耶稣作为我的个人救主，尽管这几年上帝赐予我其他地上的宝藏，但44年来，这仍然是我所获得的最大宝藏。最重要的是，这笔宝藏使我能够在这世上过着有目标的生活。正是这种财富导致使徒保罗，在一个世纪最强大的教会迫害者宣告说：“不但如此，我也将万事当做有损的，因我以认识我主基督耶稣为至宝。我为他已经丢弃万事，看做粪土，为要得着基督， ” （腓3：8）
我们当中许多人可能都看过这部电影《波希米亞狂想曲: 搖滾傳》（Bohemian Rhapsody)。这部电影讲述了佛莱迪·摩克瑞（Freddie Mercury）的生平，佛莱迪是一个非常成功的英国摇滚乐队，Queen，的主唱。成功为他带来了全世界的粉丝，他积累了巨大的财富，尽管如此，他的生活却是空虚的。在他的最后一首歌中，佛莱迪问了一个问题：“有人知道我们为什么而活吗？”