Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Accidental Millionaires

Every once in a while the news will report stories of people who become accidental millionaires by stumbling into fortunes that they didn’t know they possessed. This year we have seen two such cases. First, there was the Minnesota building contractor, David Gonzales, who bought an old house for $10,000 and was doing some renovations in the attic when he came across a priceless piece of Americana. There stuffed inside the walls of the attic among old newspapers used for insulation was a copy of Action Comics No. 1, the 1938 comic book that debuted “the man of steel,” Superman. The fact that the comic book was tattered and in less than mint condition didn’t seem to matter as it sold at auction for a cool $175,000 (click here to read full article)1

Then there was the case of one lucky shopper who stumbled upon the art find of a lifetime when he purchased a bundle of unidentified sketches at a rummage sale in Las Vegas. At the time, Andy Fields, had no idea that he was buying what experts believe is a previously unknown work by Andy Warhol. That's why he paid less than $5 for it. But now the early pop art sketch, thought to have been completed by Warhol when he was 10 or 11 years old, went up for sale on eBay for a whopping $1.9 million (click here to read full article)2

Those stories reminded me of a parable that Jesus once told of another individual who serendipitously happened upon a fortune. In Matthew 13:44 Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field (MSG).” 

There are various interpretations of this parable, one of them being that the Kingdom of God is of immense value. The treasure that man found was too amazing to forget about! He probably couldn’t take His mind off it until it was in his pocket. He was sitting on a gold mine, and the price tag for the plot of land was peanuts compared to value of the treasure. Just as the man sold everything he had to buy the land which contained buried treasure, so too entrance into Kingdom of God far outweighs any inconvenience or sacrifice one might encounter on Earth. 

When we discover that we can enter God’s kingdom, we have a choice to make, just as the man in the field did. We can see the treasure and just go back to our old way of life, or we can see God’s kingdom, full of peace, love, forgiveness, freedom, and joy, and want that more than anything else. Jesus is not saying that you must go out and sell everything you own in order to be saved. But He is saying that you should be willing to sacrifice anything in order to own a share in God’s Kingdom. What could be more valuable than abundant life and a relationship with the Creator of the universe? Are you willing to let go of your earthly trinkets for real treasure? 

1. Brian Truitt, "Superman Debut Comic Found in Wall Sells for $170,000," USA Today, 13 June 2013 <http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2013/06/13/superman-action-comics-issue-found-in-wall/2419837/>.

2. "Andy Warhol Drawing Bought for $5 Could Fetch Nearly $2 Million on Ebay," Huffington Post, 5 August 2013, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/andy-warhol-ebay_n_3707365.html>.

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