Monday, August 12, 2019
In 1974 I worked at a small-town grocery store in North Dakota. My boss had just bought the store from the previous owner. Inside the store was a huge safe that we were told had not been opened for years. We were told we could have whatever we found if we could get it open. The day came when I was assigned the task of opening the safe.
I was captivated by the possibilities of what was inside. What kind of treasure would I find if I could somehow get it open? I didn’t want to destroy anything that was inside, so I planned carefully how I would break into this massive safe.
I started by trying to figure out the combination. I put my ear to the door and slowly turned the dial as I listened for clicks, just like I had seen in the movies. It didn’t work. I guess you really do need a stethoscope.
Next, I dried drilling holes near the dial in hopes that I could find the tumblers and align them so the lock would release. That didn’t work either. The only other option was demolition, so I headed home to get a sledgehammer and pry bar.
After several hours of work I succeeded in working my way under the corner seam to peel back a small section of the 1/8-inch-thick metal casing of the safe, only to discover three inches of concrete. After a couple more hours of peeling back metal and chipping out concrete, I had to pry apart the metal protecting the inside of the safe.
Finally I was in. I had removed one side of this five-foot tall safe to discover what treasure was inside. At first it looked like our efforts were wasted, as all we found were old business records. But then, in one small drawer at the top of the safe, was a small black bag. Inside were two twenty-dollar gold pieces from the 1800’s. They were incredibly valuable. I’m sure my eyes popped out of my head when I saw them. I immediately gave them to my boss, and he said I could have them for all the work I did. I rushed home after work to find a safe place to keep them.
My first real treasure hunt had yielded a huge bounty. But it was short-lived. Several days later the previous owner of the store stopped in and asked if we had gotten the safe opened. I showed him the opened safe, and he immediately looked in the little drawer and asked if we had found two gold pieces. I said yes, and he asked for them back, denying that he had ever said we could have the contents of the safe if we got it opened.
I immediately went home and returned the treasure to the previous owner. No thanks. No reward. Just the satisfaction in my heart that I had done the right thing. Honestly, it took a while for the reward of righteousness to overcome the disappointment, but it eventually did. It’s hard to look for treasure and never find it, but it’s harder still to find it and then have it taken away.
Proverbs 2:1-4 My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.
There is a treasure that will never be taken away. It is worth all the effort you put into finding it. It is the treasure of wisdom. To those who seek wisdom like treasure the Lord will grant it. It will become the permanent shield of those who walk with integrity. With God’s wisdom comes understanding of righteousness, justice, and fairness. Those who walk in God’s wisdom find the right way to go and will be kept safe. There is eternal joy for the one who seeks wisdom like a treasure.
We spend literally hours every day digging for treasures that will never satisfy – worldly treasures like success, recognition, financial security, and recreation. We invest hours in fulfilling our own dreams and the dreams of our children. We believe we and our kids are entitled to experience all that this life has to offer. We even sacrifice our service to the Lord for the sake of fulfilling our earthly dreams. We have made a choice to look for treasure where there is no treasure at all.
I can’t help but think of the words of Jesus who said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” He even told two stories about it. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
So here’s my challenge for you – let wisdom begin in your life by choosing to hunt for treasure in the right place. May today be the day you begin your treasure hunt for God’s wisdom. May there be nothing in the world that requires more of your time or energy than the pursuit of the heart of God.