I wonder if the anonymous buyer of the most expensive stamp in the world sold all his/her possessions in order to own it? A British Guiana 1 cent Magenta changed hands for 5 ½ million pounds last week. Will the new owner have to eat beans on toast for their remaining days in order to gaze in wonder at this treasure? Probably not. I expect it’s locked in a dark vault somewhere. (Light under a bushel?)
What is of such value to us that we would give everything? In the brief series of parables in Matthew 13, the answer is the Kingdom of Heaven. Well that’s clear then.
In mediaeval times, I imagine the predominant understanding would be the gaining of a place in heaven and the avoidance of hell. See the parable that comes after ‘the pearl’ – the one with the weeping and gnashing of teeth. A 21st century sermon would be more likely to emphasise the realisation of God’s reign here and now: ‘your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. Not that the hope of heaven doesn’t come into it but that we need to focus on the task we’ve been given.
What do you understand by ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’? What would you sacrifice for it?