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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 29, 2010

Put faith in God and rest follows

 •  Bible study goes digital

By Cheryl A.F. Okimoto

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells two parables about treasure one involving a pearl of great value, the other a treasure hidden in a field. In both, the man who finds the treasure gives up all he has to possess it.

These parables confused me in that the man was left with no other resources to buy anything else. And he wasn't purchasing the treasure as an investment to "flip" by later selling for an higher price.

Instead, he had bought something in which he saw value that exceeded its financial worth. In the case of the pearl, there was an aesthetic beauty that bound him to it and would never, ever allow him to sell the treasure, not for all the money in the world.

For many years, I saw the foolishness of "putting all your eggs in one basket." I saw the practical problems linked to such seemingly foolish maneuvers. The man's family might starve because he had no money to buy food, but he was going to enjoy his treasure! He seems rather selfish, doesn't he?

I see it a little differently now, maybe because I have finally found a pearl of great value.

The treasure that Jesus is speaking about isn't really a pearl, a box of gold coins or any other treasure-like thing we might imagine. What Jesus is showing us is a faith that transcends the logical and understands that there is only one thing that really matters in this life: obedience to God.

God grows our faith slowly, taking us by degrees into a deeper place with him. He wants us to get to the place where we have enough faith in him that we can leave everything behind just to walk with him.

That doesn't usually mean that we walk away from our homes, families and friends. What it means is that we "sell" it all and put it in God's care. We give our lives wholly over to our faith in God, asking him to direct our paths, to show us how to first be obedient to him and then how to interact with the world in obedience to him.

We don't truly "give up" anything. It's all still there, but it's now bound up in our love and obedience to our Creator. Consequently, we love our families more because we love God first. We obey our boss better because we obey God first.

Eventually, when our faith is strong enough, God may ask us to do something that seems truly foolish. The only value we may ever see in it may be that we have learned a deeper obedience to God. When that happens, we have found a treasure indeed.