by Bro. David Berkowitz
May 7, 1995


"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath
found, he hideth and for joy thereof, goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field".
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it".

Matthew 13:44-46

In the above passage of Scripture, the Lord Jesus likens the "kingdom of heaven" to finding a priceless treasure or as one who has found a costly pearl. Its value is so great that it cannot be measured by any human standards.

Now this "kingdom of heaven" is not only that celestial paradise where Christian saints go to be with Christ for all eternity. There really is such a place. The Bible describes it in considerable length.

However, here Jesus is attempting to get His followers to understand that this heavenly kingdom must first be found while one is upon this earth. For it is in this lifetime, while we are on this planet, that man needs to find God and get his heart made right with his Creator.

Jesus affirms this in another passage where He tells some jealous religious leaders that the kingdom of God is to be within and among a person (Luke 17:20,21). In other words, it is here on earth that man must first find heaven. It is here where man must first prepare for heaven. And if man does not succeed in finding some of heaven here, he will never possess all of heaven in eternity.

Now for you who are incarcerated and will be hearing or reading this message, let me tell you what I believe. I believe that all of us are in jail today because we were looking for something or we wanted something that we thought was of vital importance to us. A kind of treasure. Perhaps we were convinced that if we had this object and this object could also be a person, we would have the peace and happiness we longed for.

I am convinced, after spending eighteen years behind prison walls and coming into contact with many inmates from all walks of life, that each of us is here because we wanted something.

It could have been drugs that got you locked up. Maybe you felt that a hit of Crack was what it would take to give you the comfort you needed to make it through the day. Or maybe the treasure you wanted was simply money, which for many of us was always in short supply.

Perhaps for some it was honor and fame which you thought would bring happiness, and in pursuit of these you ended up breaking the law. Or maybe some of you thought that finding the right mate would be the most precious treasure one could find. Yet now you are heartbroken and bitter because you eventually found this treasure to be unfaithful and worthless.

If we are honest with ourselves, all of us devoted most of our lives to pursuing worldly interests and treasures. We were totally caught up in seeking worldly pleasures, digging deep for treasures we thought would bring us satisfaction and joy.

I ended up in prison with a life sentence plus hundreds of years. I had been deluded into thinking that drugs, sex, and even Satanism were little treasures that would give me happiness. Boy, was I deceived!

However, today I believe with all my heart that I have found what I have been searching for all my life. I have discovered that Jesus Christ is this True Treasure! In Him there is abundance of all that which is rich and useful. There are many treasures buried in the earth or hidden on its surface. But now I know that there is one treasure which is above all the others.

The Bible also likens the "kingdom of heaven" to a priceless pearl. But this pearl is really a person. It is Christ who is the Maker of the kingdom as well as its Owner. And pearls are expensive! Even a small one is worth much. Many of us risked our lives to gather these smaller pearls. The things of this world are like little pearls. But even a bag full would not be enough.

You know what Iím talking about. For a bank robber, one stick up is not enough. He may have gotten off with ten thousand dollars during a heist. But how long will this money last before itís spent? For a drug addict one hit of Cocaine is good. But is one hit enough? For the alcoholic, is one bottle of rum going to last him the rest of his life? He may see that bottle as his little pearl or special treasure.

But it will soon be empty.

So what I want to tell you is that JESUS CHRIST is just what youíre looking for. I have come to experience that In Him there is enough to make a person happy, both in this life and, I believe, in the life to come.

Listen, if youíre tired of having spent many years of your life diving for pearls that were small and insignificant, and if you are weary of searching for treasures which turned out to be nothing but counterfeits, things that brought you only trouble and grief, then now it is time to begin to search the Scriptures.

If you have godly sorrow for your sins and you want and desire to turn away from them, and if you realize that Jesus Christ died for your sins, that by His death He purchased a place in heaven for you which He freely offers, then why donít you receive Him right now as your Lord and Savior?

The Bible says in Psalm 34:8, "Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in Him." I can tell you from my own experience that one taste of Jesus was all I needed to get hooked.

At the time I accepted Christ I had accumulated many little pearls and treasures from this world. But when I caught hold of Christ and who He is, I willingly parted with all the rest to follow Him. I hope you do the same. My heartís desire is to have you come to faith in Christ. I want to see you set free from sinís power.

Life without Christ is a dead end. I was on the road to Hell for a long time. But Jesus Christ had mercy on me. If He was willing to save me, He will do it for anyone. I was as evil as a person could get. Yet today, thanks to Him, I am living a new life with new hope. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Letís be real to admit that the treasures of this world do not satisfy the soul. In seeking them we damaged our lives. But Jesus Christ offers us His eternal treasure which can bring fulfillment to the most empty of souls. Only He can offer you a little of heaven now, and a lot of heaven later. Make your choice today to possess this Pearl of Great Price. Go ahead and throw away all the others.

Remember, too, if you are in prison Christ will not reject you. Jesus says: "All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). God bless you!

Your fellow convict in Christ,
Bro. Dave Berkowitz
Sullivan Prison
New York State