Treasure Chest

0110. Searching For Treasure

The term “treasure hunt” conjures up all sorts of imagery, from swashbuckling pirates to wooden chests filled with pieces of gold and jewels. The players searching for treasure can merely be enthusiastic hobbyists or well-funded professionals. However, the opportunity to follow the clues and find something valuable that was once lost has an exciting, irresistible allure that has been recorded in many books and movies.

In many respects, one purpose of our lives is to search. Many people wish to be wealthy, so they will search for ways to build up their financial resources. Most of us will have a job that provides a steady paycheck, and sometimes we will toss a couple of bucks when the lottery jackpot gets large. But there are other searches other than wealth and treasure. Some search for knowledge and wisdom through the pursuit of research, science, and philosophy. Some long for a spouse in which to be able to share the rest of their lives with. Some search for power and influence in the cultural arena. And still others search for justice, equality, and other social agendas. Searching for such goals allows us to have a purpose in our lives. Otherwise, we would be floating around with no motivation to achieve anything in life. Therefore, we play the game in all cultural areas, and look for something that we can use to provide meaning for our lives.

Yet for all of our searching that we do in our lives, there is something that eludes most individuals: the sense of lasting satisfaction. An early trap is that the search is never-ending. Searches that never seem to end can often lead to obsessive behavior and addictions on one end of the spectrum, and hopelessness on the other end. Some searches in life are just what everybody else is doing, and we go along with it, never questioning why we are searching, what the search will accomplish, or even if the search is right and just. The next obstacle is actually dealing with what we find. The old cautionary saying always goes: “Be careful what you wish for.” We may think that by finding our treasure, we will also find lasting fun and happiness. However, most find the feelings are temporary and fleeting, and lose interest to the next adventure that comes along. For example, people find that even though they have reached their financial goals, they will feel they need to add more money, especially when comparing themselves to what others have. Today the divorce rate is 50% in this country, marring the happily-ever-after story of finding that soulmate. And people who have tasted power and influence not only want to keep what they have, they cannot help but to want to become even more powerful and influential, likely at the cost of their morals and principles.

So what gives? Why are we continually panting for that something that will give us peace and joy and make us contented, yet somehow it eludes us at every turn in our lives? Is the next search just another mirage on the horizon, or can we actually find this oasis in the desert all of us know is out there?

Perhaps what we seek is something deeper than what this world has to offer. Perhaps it is rooted in our genetics since the day humanity appeared on the scene. If we go back to the beginning of the Bible and read the story of creation, God created the heavens and the earth, then the seas and the animals. In essence, he created the same stuff we are currently looking for. Then he went one step further and created humanity. But did you ever ask why he created us, and why he created us in his own image? The answer is simple: he sought companionship with us. Before the fall of humanity, the natural order was God, humanity, and the earth in perfect harmony all working together. However the enemy broke that perfect circle, and we have been searching for that spiritual connection ever since.

Today, that search is even harder because of our God-omitted culture. If there is an inherent desire to have companionship with God, but our culture doesn’t even acknowledge his presence any more, and would rather hide it, then our search will take us everywhere and anywhere except the one place that has the answer. It is much like the ancient Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years going around the same mountain again and again, despite the fact the promised land they would eventually call home was only one week’s travel away.

So what is the solution? Jesus first teaches us about the earthly treasures we seek compared to those in heaven in Matthew 6:19-21 (CSB): “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus then reveals to us in Matthew 13:44-45 (CSB): “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure, buried in a field, that a man found and reburied. Then in his joy he goes and sells everything he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought it.” If we search for companionship with God as originally intended, then we will find something great that is more precious than all of our other searches combined, and we will never want to give that up.

Finally, Jesus compares our searching to being thirsty in John 4:13-14 (CSB): “Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.'” For all of the searching we do in life with our goals and dreams, none of them will ever satisfy permanently, and none will ever satisfy like coming closer to God.

So the next time you find yourself spending some time searching for treasure in this world, ask yourself: “What will its lasting value be, and will it bring me closer to God?” Ponder that this week.

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