Once there was a poor farmer who discovered a hill of gold. The farmer owned a small field at the edge of a large fertile valley. One afternoon early in autumn, he was inspecting his wheat for the harvest. The sun was beginning to sink behind the foothills and the sky was ablaze with gold and yellow. Awed by the sight, the farmer climbed up into the foothills until he could see the entire valley below him as it shimmered in the golden sunlight.
While he stood and watched, the gold became orange, and the orange slowly turned to crimson. The farmer decided that he’d better be getting home before nightfall and began to scramble down the mountainside. Suddenly his foot caught in a tangle of grey-green weeds. The farmer tripped, fell and skidded down the hill. As he stood up, he noticed that his boots had left an unusual gash in the soil. The heel tracks were yellow, and they gleamed in the last rays of fading sunlight.
Out of sheer curiosity, the farmer grabbed a few handfuls of the sandy soil and thrust them into his leather pouch. He hurried home, built a good hot fire in the hearth, and cast the soil in. Much to his surprise, the yellow dirt melted as though it were metallic. Slag bubbled up and trickled away until all that was left was shiny, yellow metal. As soon as it was cool enough to handle, the farmer fashioned it into three rings—rings of solid gold.
The farmer could barely believe what had happened. He arose at dawn the next morning, and carrying a spade and a sack, he hurried back to the hill. He sank the spade into the earth, and everywhere that he dug, he uncovered the same yellow-colored dirt. Slowly he realized that he had discovered an entire hill of gold!
He hurried into town and sold all that he owned so that he could lay claim to the hill. Then he told his wife what he had done. Angrily she called him a fool, until he showed her the yellow dirt and the three rings he had fashioned from it. Then the two of them rejoiced in their newfound wealth.
For many years the farmer and his wife lived simply but contentedly. Every so often the farmer felt a twinge of guilt for not telling anyone about the hill of gold (albeit he was very charitable with his treasure, but discreetly so). He eased his conscience about the secrecy by thinking, If I try to reveal my secret, no one will believe me anyway.”
At last the farmer and his wife were very old, and one day he felt that it was time to reveal the secret. He had much more gold than he could ever use in his lifetime, or in many lifetimes, for that matter.
“We must share our treasure,” he told his wife. “We have enough gold in our little mountain to make every poor man wealthy for life.”
His wife agreed. “Let’s go from town to town and proclaim an invitation,” she suggested. “We will say, ‘Come to the hill of gold and you will be poor no more.'”
“But,” the farmer protested, “greedy men will certainly come and take the hill by force and perhaps even kill us. Then no one will be able to partake of the treasure. I think that we should keep the hill a guarded secret and only tell those who are close to us.”
His wife thought that was the perfect solution. The two began to discuss whom they should tell. But suddenly the farmer and his wife realized that if they shared the secret at all, some people wouldn’t listen. Others would mock them; and some, perhaps even their closest friends, would be offended because they weren’t the ones to find the hill themselves or because they hadn’t been told sooner. The farmer sadly shook his head, saying, “No, there really is no one we can tell; it’s not worth the trouble.”
After many days, both the farmer and his wife died—and the secret of the hill of gold passed on with them.
There is another treasure in the world—a treasure so vast that it can never run out. That treasure is the message of the gospel, the good news that Messiah has come, and that through faith in him anyone can be put right with God, have his sins forgiven and share all eternity with the Maker of heaven and earth. Yeshua likened the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure hidden in a field, whereupon finding it a man sold all that he had in order to buy that field. God’s treasure is uncountable; and his riches are more inexhaustible than the highest mountain of gold. How, then, can we who have found the secret of such a treasure keep it to ourselves?