THINKING LIKE A PAWNBROKER


We may be inclined at times to think like a pawnbroker—how can we get the best deal for a valuable treasure? Who hasn’t fantasized for a moment about becoming wealthy?




Several of Jesus’ parable stories feature people who have the responsibility of handling treasure; either their own or managing it for someone else. In each story there is always the question of price and responsibility. What is required to gain the advantage? Here are a couple examples of treasure stories from Jesus.


Matthew 13:
44 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.


In the first instance, there is the fortunate and unexpected discovery. The worker comes upon the treasure quite by accident in the course of his duties.

Under rabbinic law if a workman came on a treasure in a field and lifted it out, it would belong to his master, the field's owner; but here the man is careful not to lift the treasure out till he has bought the field. The focus of the parable, therefore, is on the value of the treasure, which is worth every sacrifice.[1]

In the second case, a businessman discovers something so valuable he liquidates all assets to acquire the priceless treasure. Both stories speak to the motive of profit. There is something greater than what you have and it is worth paying a great price in order to acquire it.

To discover the true riches of a life with God, we need to be willing to think less about our current assets and more about what God has promised. This is the essence of God’s blessing—trading plastic toys for diamonds. Letting go of the lesser to grasp the greater.

While our first instinct in these stories is to assume we are the businessmen, it might also be read as Jesus being the one who paid the great price to have us. We are the priceless treasure that he paid the greatest price for.

Unlike a pawnbroker, Jesus paid the highest price. He did not look for a bargain but paid full value.






[1] Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Matthew 13:44

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