Jesus tells a short parable about a man who discovers treasure hidden in a field. In his joy, he sells all he has and buys the field (to get the treasure). Matthew 13:44.
This got me thinking about how JOY is such an integral part of God’s gift to us of the Kingdom! The King is a Joy-Filled King. Here are just 8 truths about joy in the treasure.
- Joy motivates us to grab hold of it.
That’s the point of the parable: the man’s joy drove him to get it. Apathy never gains the kingdom. Nobody saunters into the kingdom of God. You gotta want to enter through the narrow gate. For that matter, anger, sullenness, bitterness never gain the kingdom. Nor fear. I daresay there’s no Christian who’s walked with Christ for 20 years because they are afraid of hell. Fear is an extremely poor motivator.
But DELIGHT in Christ is what drives someone to keep on following. Christ-followers rejoice in him, we delight in him, and we enjoy him.
- Joy motivates us to grab hold of it at all costs.
The man sold all he had to buy the field, to get the treasure. And, that’s just it: You can’t NOT “sell all” to gain the kingdom. You cannot hedge your bets. You cannot be in two places, on two teams, double-minded, or two faced.
Why else would martyrs walk to their own execution? Because of the joy of knowing Christ. He is worth it all.
Why would a Muslim or Hindu turn to Christ, even though it means alienation of their family? Because this treasure is worth grabbing hold of at all costs.
- Joy carries us into growing relationship with God himself
Psalm 100 says this: make a joyful noise to the Lord, serve the Lord with gladness, … enter his gates with thanksgiving & his courts with praise.
God wants us near him and wants us to rejoice in him.
- For you O Lord have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. Ps 92:4
- Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice… before the Lord, for he comes!” Ps 96:11-13
- The Kingdom of God, Paul says, is a matter of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Rom 14:16
- Joy strengthens us in all things
Nehemiah says to the Israelites, “the Joy of the Lord is your Strength” (Neh 8:10). Notice it doesn’t say, “my service to the Lord is my strength” or “my obedience to the Lord is my strength” or “my sacrifice for the Lord is my strength.”
It’s the JOY of the Lord that strengthens us all the day long. That’s why Paul calls us in Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice.”
- Equips us to endure anything
Do you remember what Hebrews said about Jesus? “For the joy set before him he endured the cross…” (12:2)
The joy of the outcome (redemption of you and me!) enabled him to endure the worst anguish, humiliation, injustice of all eternity. Joy carried Christ through the cross. It will carry you and me through any and every trial and suffering in this world.
- Joy is the hallmark of a Christian
Gal 5:22 says that when someone has the Spirit, he produces fruit in us: love, joy, peace… If you have the Spirit, he wants to bring joy out through you. In John 15:10-11 Jesus says that his joy is in us, and our joy is complete as we continue to live for him, obeying him and loving one another (ie., as we are a Christian)
- Joy is our reward in this life—as others follow him with us
The greatest reward in life is that folks meet or grow in Christ through you and me. Paul and John both say this: 1 Thes 2:19-20 – For what is our hope and our joy… at the coming of the Lord? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. 2 John 4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. If you’ve ever helped someone to understand Christ just a little more, or love Christ just a little deeper, or follow him just a little more fully, you know the joy Paul and John are talking about. Worth way more than any of the other good gifts in this world.
- Joy is our eternal future
Rev 19:7 – “Rejoice and be glad at the wedding supper of the Lamb”—the feast of eternity!
John 16:22 – Jesus says, “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice…” I can’t wait to see him again!
Isa 35:10 – “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come singing to Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Let that promise sink in: at the end of all things, when Christ returns and gathers us to himself, everlasting joy will be our lot! Hallelujah.
How is your joy quotient? How are your joy levels? Jesus and his Kingdom really are a treasure. The joy of abandoning yourself to him is the greatest joy we could imagine. It’s what we’ve been created for!