The kingdom is expensive

by Mike Benson

How much would you be willing to give for a dime? Would you pay 25 cents? Would you pay 50 cents? How about a whole dollar? No?

Stack’s Bowers Galleries recently auctioned off a dime for–are you sitting down?–$1.6 million!

The 1873-CC “No Arrows” Liberty Seated dime sold back on August 9th at an American Numismatic (e.g. currency, coins, paper money, etc.) Association Convention.

As it turns out, there were five bidders, all offering over a million dollars for the unique coin. The winner paid $1.6 million and then SBG tacked on their 15 percent buyer’s fee for a grand total of $1.84 million.

So why were multi-millionaires engaged in a bidding war over a measly ten-cent piece?

It turns out the dime is extremely rare and in perfect condition. It was produced during a one-day run of dimes at the Carson City, Nevada mint before it was shut down in the early 1890’s.

On one occasion, our Lord talked about a merchant who was willing to pay top dollar for his find. But this buyer was searching, not for old coins, but for fine pearls (Matthew 13:45).

In the first century, pearls were difficult to find and incredibly expensive (Job 28:18; Matthew 7:6; 1 Timothy 2:9; Revelation 17:4; 18:11, 12, 16, 17; 21:21). People would invest in them in much the same way we invest in gold and other precious metals today.

Their high price tag was due, at least in part, to the fact that men had to plunge as much as 40 feet into the dark abyss of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf in order to secure them.

Divers literally risked life and limb in their quest for these precious jewels. Add to that the fact that an average of only one oyster in a thousand actually contained a pearl.

While on one of his buying tours, the merchant Jesus spoke of stumbled upon one particular pearl that made all others pale in comparison. Though he had appraised many pearls during his business career, this one excelled them all. It was exquisite; it was perfect.

Recognizing its inestimable value, the merchant went out and sold all of his pearl stock in order to purchase this one (Matthew 13:46).

But Jesus really wasn’t talking about buying costly pearls; He was teaching a parabolic lesson about the kingdom and sacrifice.

You see, if you and I want to be followers of Jesus Christ, we must willing to sacrifice our treasure too, whether it be:

  • comfort (Matthew 8:19-20, Luke 9:57-58, 2 Timothy 1:12)
  • family (Matthew 8:21-22, 10:36)
  • freedom (Matthew 10:17-19; 11:2)
  • financial acumen (Matthew 19:21)
  • prestige (Philippians 3:5-7)

A man doesn’t sacrifice $1.84 million on a dime unless he knows it is very special, nor does a man sell his entire collection of pearls to purchase one pearl unless he knows it surpasses all others.

Dear reader, the kingdom of heaven (Daniel 2:44), is the most precious institution in existence because it was designed by the eternal God! It is exquisite; it is perfect! Are you willing to sacrifice to obtain it? How much are you willing pay (Matthew 16:26; Luke 14)?

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Mike Benson

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