Ever watched one of those “treasure hunter” shows on television? Where you watch as some nut chases after hidden clues and makes some dubious logical leaps in order to find a treasure that may not exist?
The one thing that makes the star not a “nut” is when he actually finds a treasure. Then, it pays off. Then it makes it all worthwhile. And everyone sits back and apologizes for doubting him and wants him to buy the next round.
It all hinges on the treasure. If it’s real and truly valuable, then it’s worth anything. If not, well, then you’re just another nut with a theory, a fake bird, and a series of murders for Sam Spade to solve. (Ok, so that’s fiction. But still…)
Matthew 13:44 speaks to treasure hunting. Actually, it speaks of treasure-finding. Jesus tells of a man who found a treasure in a field, kept it hidden, then acquired the field and held on tight. We praise the man, because the story is told in just a few sentences.
But what if we had known him? How crazy would we have thought that man?
“You’re buying the old Gunderson place? Are you nuts? That field won’t perform well. There’s no water!"
“You want to sell everything for that? We’re already on the cusp of financial ruin! No way!"
“Do you really think it’s worth it to do this? Take the money from selling half your stuff and go to Rio!"
“You want to spend the time to build and gather and find the lasting treasure? We can do it quicker. Besides, digging into that field will make it look odd to everyone else, and it will be different than the fields around it. Can’t do that. Just make it look the same and be the same."
What do we do with this?
First, realize that following Jesus is going to look like the middle of the treasure hunt to some people. We’re going to look like morons at times. It’s the way it is. We know the long-term treasure. Shortcuts will not be effective for what we need.
Second, realize that, just like with treasure hunts, there are people who would pirate the work. They want the benefits without the efforts. That’s a non-starter. But they will make life hard for you.
Finally, remember what we’re after. It’s not about the field or the short-term profit. We must not stop until we have reached the goal. Until we have attained the measure of the fullness of what God has called us to.
Don’t give up halfway in. This is no time to sell the shovels and give up, shrinking back.