The Parables of Treasures

Silver Stock Report

by Jason Hommel, December 12, 2006

Matthew 13:
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

When I was young, my family was poor, and I had trouble understanding these parables because I was thinking how odd it would be to sell everything you have; your car, your home, your clothes, all for just one really expensive thing.  And for what?  Is it better to live like a bum, and live on the street, homeless, and own nothing but one pearl or treasure?  Is that what the height of Christianity is all about?  Becoming a miser?  I thought the parables were teaching a “call to poverty”.  And the Christians I knew back then looked down at wealth, calling it, “materialism”.

Later, I learned that some people try to interpret the parables spiritually.  They say that Jesus is the man, and we are the pearl or treasure.  Or that we are the man, and Jesus is the pearl.  Jesus gave up everything to die for us, and we give it all up for Jesus.  Either of these “spiritual” interpretations supposedly shows the self-sacrificing nature of Christianity.

But for some reason, I was not satisfied with those explanations, either.  The topic of the parables is the kingdom of heaven, not the gospel message of salvation.  

But after studying Bible prophecy for several years, I was no closer to understanding these parables.  There’s no mention of a rapture, and no resurrection, nor even a mention of Christ ruling!  And so, I was even more perplexed.  

It was only after I studied free market principles and put them to work producing my free Silver Stock Report, and after I became a rather successful trader, that a greater understanding of these parables has come to me.  This has happened over the last several months, like a sort of ever-growing awareness that creates it’s own buzzing excitement for me, that I’m finally honored to share with you.

First of all, I must note that Jesus spoke in parables on purpose, to hide understanding, and to confuse those who will not understand the kingdom.  Daniel says that none of the wicked will understand.    

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Daniel 12:10  Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

And why does God conceal knowledge and wisdom?  He tells us.  It glorifies Him, and honors us.

Prov 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

So, I’m honored to try to explain; however, no matter how hard I try, there will be critics who are incapable of understanding.  So, pray that you will find understanding.  Seek, and you shall find, the Bible says.

First, let’s note what the first parable does not say.  It doesn’t say that a man found a hidden treasure in a field, and then went and did the “supposedly Christian thing” and told the owner of the field about the treasure!  

No, it’s “Finder’s keepers!” or “First come, first served.”

But it also does not say that the man simply took the treasure he found.  No, he re-hid the treasure and then bought the field!

The man had perfect respect for property rights!  

There was no swindling or cheating, the man simply had better knowledge about what he was buying than the seller; the seller obviously did not know about the treasure.

The man also took a big risk.  He had to first sell all he had to raise the money to buy the field, and he might not have had enough to buy the field; and in the meantime, the treasure could have been found by someone else, or the owner.

In the second parable, the man is a merchant.  As a trader myself, and knowing many traders of gold and silver, I know a few things about what this means.

The merchant buys and sells jewels or pearls for a living.  A merchant does not buy pearls for himself; he mostly buys pearls to sell to others.  His end goal is to sell pearls for the profit, not buy them, nor hoard them; as I had previously, and mistakenly, thought.  He is only looking for fine pearls because he knows he can sell them for gain.

A merchant’s job is a service; he is serving others who are clearly more wealthy than he is, because others can afford the costly pearls that he might barely be able to afford.  

In the kingdom of heaven there is great inequality of wealth; as there are expensive pearls being traded!  

Pearls also stand for wisdom.

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

(In other words, those wicked people who refuse to understand will always be attacking me or slandering me as they do.)

Proverbs teaches us to seek first wisdom, for through wisdom we can also get money.

Proverbs 3:13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 

(God gave Solomon first wisdom, and then riches. 2 Chronicles 1:11)  

Jesus teaches us to seek first the kingdom, for if we do, then all things will be added to us. (Matthew 6:33)

It appears as if the merchant is highly specialized in his service; he went looking specifically for pearls, and specifically for costly pearls.  This speaks to the high level of the division of labor in the kingdom.

The pearl merchant took a big personal risk, to first go away, and then sell everything for the pearl.  And meanwhile, someone else might have bought the pearl before he could return to buy it.  

The other risk is that the man is putting his entire fortune on the line for one pearl deal; there is no diversification in his portfolio.

So there is no need to diversify if you really know what you are doing.  (Personally speaking, my portfolio is nearly all in the natural resources sector, mostly in silver companies; but within this one sector, it is diversified across 15-20 companies.)

Ecclesiastes 11:1 Be generous, and someday you will be rewarded. 2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

The pearl merchant therefore likely knows a lot about pearls, and likely knows a lot of people who want to buy pearls.  He knows the subject, and his market.  Perhaps he is shopping for a specific customer, perhaps for a king.  The point is that the pearl merchant likely knows how much he can sell the pearl for, and so he knows how much he can risk to buy the pearl in the first place.

As a trader, I know that rare objects often have a higher dealer mark-up.  In other words, the pearl merchant will likely make many times more money from selling this one pearl than any of his other deals.  Instead of making 1-20% as he might make on a typical trade of an average pearl, he may make up to 50-100% or more just by selling this one costly pearl.

The parable teaches us to not be upset at the wealthy if the wealthy want to “waste” their wealth on fine pearls, but rather, even help them buy pearls it if that’s what they want.  Thus, the parable is a gentle reminder to not be covetous of other people’s wealth; but rather, to serve the wealthy.

In each parable, each man was uniquely capable of understanding the trading opportunity available.

Overall, the parables have much to say about how to trade, and the benefits of trading.

Now, given the fact that Jesus is not bought and sold, I do not think that Jesus can be the pearl.  Given that Jesus does not trade us (Jesus is never described as a merchant of human souls, and can gain nothing by selling one of us), I do not think that we can be the pearl in the parable, either.  

Rather, the men in the parables are the righteous men described in the other parables in Matthew 13.  The men are like the fertile ground that heard the word of God and were productive, or like the good wheat that was planted.  The men are bearing fruit with their trades and being productive.

And so, the parables teach us about trading, buying, and selling, in many ways, and are, again, a support of private property, capitalism, free enterprise, and free trade, as means to provide the most economic benefits.  

So many Christians think it’s wrong to mix religion and money, but Jesus was the greatest economist that ever walked the earth.  

To put this into context of my understanding of prophecy, I believe that when Jesus comes back with his raptured saints, after the tribulation, to bring peace to earth and set up his kingdom; the economic system will be free market capitalism, not communism.  And the best ways to reap the benefits of God’s provision in this world, and to manifest the kingdom of heaven in our lives, is to study and embrace all the principles of free trade.

Today, I view silver like that treasure in the field, or that costly pearl.  Silver is that thing that I can buy cheaply, and I know I can sell it for a lot more later, to others who will need it.  Silver’s running out, but the world needs silver; both for industry, and to preserve their wealth as fraudulent paper money continues to fail.