I come from a serious line of treasure hunters, from Grandpa Grams to Dad and on to me. We’re not treasure hunters in the traditional, everyone-else-thinks-this-is-valuable-too sense. We’re more the one-man’s-trash-is-another-man’s-treasure kind. True, I didn’t always appreciate a good deal or the thrill of the hunt, but now I share their fierce love of the bargain and will seek it out at yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets and antique shops. There’s something exciting about finding a treasure that has value to me, however small or insignificant it may seem to someone else.
Lately, I’ve come to view my study of the Bible in much the same way. Whether I’m sitting in Bible class, having family devotion time with the kids, or studying on my own, I enjoy the thrill of treasure hunting through God’s Word.
Sometimes the gems I find are “small” ones: realizing that we don’t know for sure what kind of fruit Eve ate in the garden (Did you know the Bible never calls it an apple?), or being reminded that Jonah was swallowed by a big fish (Did you know the Bible never calls it a whale?), or learning that the wise men were not present at the birth of Jesus, that they came later when He was a small Child. Discoveries like these are valuable to me because they remind me to take care when I’m reading God’s Word and not to infuse my own assumptions into it.
Oftentimes, the gems are “bigger”: Grasping God’s plan of Salvation through the history of the world and seeing how He preserved both His Word and the line of people from which the Savior came. I am also humbled when the Spirit reminds me of my sinful nature and constant failings while at the same time washing me clean in grace and forgiveness, or when my studies reveal just how different the nature and actions of God and His Son are from my own. Discoveries like these are valuable to me because they remind me that He is in control and will work all things for my spiritual good.
What’s it like to be on a spiritual treasure hunt, you ask? Well, you know that feeling you get when you’re sitting in the pew at church and you are suddenly overcome with stunned shock because it feels like the pastor is speaking directly to you? Almost as if he has read your thoughts and written his sermon for you alone? Or how about those days the world seems to be crumbling down around you, and when you open your Bible and cry out to the Lord for comfort, He leads you to that perfect chapter and verse? Congratulations! You have experienced the thrill of treasure hunting and the joy of finding the prize.
It’s pretty phenomenal, isn’t it? The Bible is the only book that you could study your entire life and still be amazed as if you were reading it for the first time. There is always, always treasure to find. So my prayer for the New Year is this: May each of us hunt for treasure through diligent and careful study of God’s Word, and may each expedition yield precious rewards – the special kind that should not only be kept hidden safely in our hearts, but also freely shared with others.