Goals in the Christian Life (3): Treasure Hunting

Few people live their goals as passionately as treasure hunters, who will sacrifice everything for the big find, whether a buried cache or a sunken ship. Driven by an unshakable confidence that the mother lode is near, they keep digging and diving, day after day, year after year.

Ironically, some of history’s greatest treasure hunters were already wealthy. Heinrich Schliemann amassed a fortune as a banker before setting off to find, successfully, the lost city of Troy. Mel Fisher ran a prosperous business before moving his family to Florida to dive for treasure. Despite much personal loss, he found the Atocha, a Spanish galleon, with her $450 million cargo. These were men convinced that something more was to be discovered, and their life-goal was to find it.

The Lord wants us to be determined treasure hunters. He has put the “X” on the map. And interestingly, He uses two of history’s wealthiest men to convince us that the find is worth more than any earthly fortune. Solomon tells us where to search: “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Pro 2:1-6).

And Job tells us what it’s worth: It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold” (Job 28:16-19).

Let’s look carefully at Solomon’s map. The trails of three ifs lead to the treasure. “If thou wilt,” “if thou criest,” and “if thou seekest,” “then shalt thou understand…and find!”

Want It

The treasure is priceless: wisdom, understanding, and the knowledge of God. With it comes a reverential fear of Him that will unquestionably transform our lives. But do we want it? The first condition is, “if thou wilt.”

We admire the men and women of Scripture who found it. We see the results in their lives as they coolly faced a fiery furnace, confidently marched into enemy territory, or cared about their executioners’ forgiveness. We tell their stories, but do we crave knowing God as they did?

Then, “if thou wilt” takes a turn at, “if thou criest.” Has there ever been a sincere plea from our heart for the Lord to reveal more of Himself to us? Have we called out for His knowledge and wisdom?

Dig It

The final if is labor intensive. The map says life-changing wisdom is near, but she will only be uncovered “if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasure.” The “seek” here is diligent, and “to search” is equivalent to, “to dig.” An action plan is required. Goals need to be set. A systematic search must begin. There is more than dreaming and desire involved; there is work to do.

Often our personal Bible reading amounts to little more than scuffing the dust on a well-worn path. We stick to the trail, follow the signs, and pause at our usual favorite sites. “I’m out for a short hike, why would I need a shovel?”

While the daily exercise is good for our hearts, the prospect of finding hidden treasure is about nil.

Solomon says, “Dig”—persevering and unrelaxing, hand-blistering, and back-breaking! This is going to hurt. We’ll have to give up time, opportunities, leisure, and money. It may cost us friendships, ambitions, and dreams. But like all treasure hunters know, the loss will seem small when the jewel is in hand. As all treasure hunters discover, we will never make headway until it becomes our life-goal.

Hoard It

King Solomon knew how to accumulate wealth. He had ships on three-year cycles bringing him everything from gold and ivory, to apes and peacocks (2Ch 9:21). It’s significant, then, that the word he used for “hide” also means “hoard.” “Hide my commandments with thee”—surround yourself with the bounty!

As each nugget is lifted, polished, and appreciated, we should store it safely in our heart. That’s where it will transform us. As another treasure hunter wrote, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psa 119:11). What have we been stashing in our vault? Do we, like Solomon, have a systematic plan to maintain the steady inflow of treasures? Hoard it, he says.

Value It

Let’s be honest. What price have we put on spiritual wisdom and understanding? Is knowing God a priority? Is there a genuine effort to find treasure in His Word? Are there blisters on our hands?

A man who could handle the shovel wrote that the finds were “better unto me than thousands of gold and silver” (Psa 119:72). Job said, “Man knoweth not the price thereof” (Job 28:13). Paul wanted believers to “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:2-3 ESV). Is it our goal? Are we driven by an unshakable confidence that the treasure is near? Are we digging, day after day, year after year?

The “X” is on the map. Have we found it?