The parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl are linked together as were the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast. These two short parables were told by Jesus to illustrate two different points about the Kingdom of Heaven. There are some similarities and differences in the two parables. In the parable of the hidden treasure, the scene described is a man laboring in a field, maybe plowing, when he discovered buried treasure. Perhaps when he first made contact with the chest or whatever the treasure was in, he thought he had hit a rock. Digging around it in order to remove the object he discovered to his amazement hidden treasure. How long it had been there and who buried it was not known. People often bury treasure in order to safeguard it from thieves or enemy soldiers. The treasure could have been there for many years and the owner long since deceased. Note: To this date people in the Middle East, and other places for that matter, still bury valuables in the ground. I had Palestinians tell me that during the Intifada they were living off "buried money." The man covered over the treasure and then in his excitement "sold all he had and bought the field." Once he was in ownership of the field, everything in it belonged to him.
The scene in the second parable involves a merchant who dealt in pearls. This man was not a "discounter" but rather traded in better merchandise. Instead of making a little profit on many sales, he was more interested in making a lot off a few transactions. Like Stanley Marcus of the Neiman Marcus Stores, this man was on a "quest for the best." Marcus actually authored a book by that title. One day the merchant found an outstanding pearl. It's large size and perfect shape was unlike anything he had ever seen. He too "sold everything to buy it."
Keep in mind that these parables were meant to teach us about the Kingdom of Heaven. The first parable describes those who discover the Kingdom quite by "accident." One day in a course of daily life, they happen upon the message of the Kingdom and in great joy realize that they have found something very valuable. These people do not get up that morning or begin that week looking for God and or spiritual things. But in his providence they found it and responded with excitement and joy. The second parable portrays individuals who are actively seeking God and looking for spiritual truth and fulfillment. When they encounter the Gospel of the Kingdom, because of their previous experiences, they see how unique and wonderful it is. They also in excitement and joy buy into it by making a total commitment. Saul of Tarsus is an example of someone who "happened" upon the Kingdom on his way to Damascus and the Ethiopian official who traveled to Jerusalem looking for God was searching for truth. As you read these parables ask yourself which one is more descriptive of you Did you find God after years of searching or just happen to discover salvation one day. If neither is the case, then perhaps this message will cause you to stop and think and then respond.