I love Jesus' parables. They often make me stop and consider what my values and trajectory in life truly are. Take for instance the parable of the hidden treasure:
“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." Matthew 13:44 (ESV)
Also, the parable of the valuable pearl:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46 (ESV)
When my children were small, we had a book about Jesus’ parable of the pearl of great value. It showed a merchant who traveled far and wide to find something worthy to purchase. When he found the pearl, he went home and sold everything: his land, his home, his business, his livestock. In the end all he had left were the clothes on his back. The book closes with him holding the pearl with such joy on his face, that you couldn’t help feeling something wonderful had happened to him.
Matthew 13 is full of illustrations to help us understand the kingdom of God. The point of verses 44-46 are to show us that there is nothing greater than being part of that kingdom. Thinking about that makes me realize that the kingdom Jesus ushered in is worth the last ounce of our devotion since it’s value is beyond our imagining. When we discover that for ourselves, we will do anything to get it!
We often think of the kingdom as something separate from Jesus, but it's not at all. He is what makes the kingdom what it is. When we desire it, we desire him. As he told the Pharisees when they asked when the Kingdom of God would come, this is what he said:
"One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, 'When will the Kingdom of God come?' Jesus replied, 'The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, "Here it is!" or "It’s over there!" For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” Luke 17:20-22 (NLT)
That makes me want to turn my back on everything else to just have him.