“I feel like the man in the parable,” my husband said to me a few days ago. “The one who finds a treasure buried in a field and sells all he has to buy the field. The only problem is now that I’ve sold everything for it, I can’t seem to find the buried treasure.“
Sometimes the walk of faith is brutal. When we feel the prompting of God to do something counter-cultural, something that makes no sense but through the eyes of faith, we expect that pulling the trigger will surely be the hardest part. But afterward many of us find that was, in fact, the easy part. Living it out is another story.
When my husband said those words to me we had just walked away from his comfortable full-time parish job to say yes to a life of intentional community, simplicity, and solidarity with the poor. The prayerful discernment it had taken for us to make that decision was intense, and we had hoped for something of a “honeymoon period” after moving our family across the country. Instead, we were greeted with quite a bumpy landing. (Among other things, we’ve had no running water for a week.) If I’m honest, I’m having a hard time finding the treasure myself.
What about your promises, Lord? We are tempted to ask. Jesus’ parable said if we put everything on the line to follow Your leading, we would have a treasure to rejoice in! Right now all we have are buckets of water, disoriented children, and a weary community.
But as I read and re-read that parable, I’m confronted with a truth I must have missed somehow: the joy is in the selling of everything to obtain the treasure, not in what happens after the fact. We have no idea how the treasure or the field worked out in the man’s life, but we know he had joy because of the wisdom of his decision—and perhaps especially because that wisdom looked so much like foolishness.
Christ Himself is our reward. It is our joy to follow Him and our joy to suffer with Him, simply because He is so good. Giving everything we have to heed His calling will never be the wrong choice, no matter how bumpy the ride. Because the joy of the Gospel isn’t in a life of ease and comfort, but in a life full of meaning and love. And on the days when the treasure is hard to find, joy is still ours for the taking.
Are you looking for your treasure today? Take a moment for a deep, guttural prayer within. Stop by a chapel to greet Jesus. Trust that God is so good.
Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. An adoptive and biological mom of two boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. You can find out more about her here.