Pirates. Sunken ships. Lost civilizations. Tombs. An old wooden chest with shiny gold coins inside. A fading map with dotted lines winding around landscape markers leading to an "X."
Talk of treasure still excites me and makes me feel like a kid. The possibility of discovering something unimaginable. The pursuit of the unknown. The joy of something lost being found.
As alluring as it is, there's also this inherent danger that comes with treasure. It seems to come and go too easily, like a mirage that draws you in but once you reach it, disappears. The lottery still gets played, but the winners seemed cursed to a life of misery and wind up coming away with less that when they started. Our Social Media culture makes "treasure" a touch or screen away. We can see with our very own eyes people driving fast cars, living in fancy houses, visiting exotic destinations. Treasure filled lives are all around. But for the majority of us, the thin screen we see these things on is a much broader gap that cannot be crossed. It leaves us wanting things that may or may not even be real. Photoshopped bodies, spray on tans, smiling faces that are getting paid to look happy. And in the end, a person can spend their whole life chasing this treasure only to reach the end of their life realizing they can't take any of it with them.
Don't get me wrong... If I found a treasure chest full of loot, I'd freak out (in a good way). I love to travel, and appreciate nice things. But do they fill me up? Do they satisfy my soul? Are they even meant to do so? Not so much... Yet this is still what seems to be highly promoted, upheld, and envied. We are told to seek out more. Get rich! Wear this! Buy these! Go here... then... THEN you will be "happy."
I recently read something that my boss actually wrote that inspired me a lot. Her husband passed away suddenly two years ago, and she was expressing some of her thoughts about him on the anniversary of his death. Here is part of what she wrote:
"In hindsight, I would have listed his career as a treasure hunter. In the literal sense he was a treasure hunter. He had a metal detector since he was a little boy. He would go to parks and beaches and run his metal detector over the ground for hours and when it beeped he would dig up coins and arrowheads. He could spend time like it was infinite on any task without a break. He was Simply intense.
His treasure hunting skill went beyond the physical realm. He could find treasure in people and had no problem digging for it. He raised his children as a treasure hunter would and their interests and talents and friends and hopes were the treasure to be found and excavated.
He did however find the same treasure day after day and was very content with me. Randy saw me and his children with the intensity of Indiana Jones. He was fearless and would go to the end of the earth to help us find our potential and he would do it for fun and adventure, not for any worldly motives. He found treasure in nature and his friends and boy, could he sniff out wealth in teenagers. They became what he saw in them when they were around him. He was a master at having good clean fun, taking very seriously right and wrong."
To me, Randy seemed to be a man who understood something really important. Enjoy life, enjoy the moment, and know where the real treasure is. When I read about him, I see a man that saw treasure differently.
All of this is not to say that cars or houses or "stuff" is bad...this is all about what is better. It's about learning to see treasure outside of the physical, temporal realm. It's you and me and what's inside of each of us, what has never been before and can never be duplicated that is so important. So many people don't even know something like that is inside of them, or they think they are the opposite of treasure. They see an empty chest within themselves and try filling it with the temporal gold of this age, only to find it increasingly empty. What if, instead of chasing things that flash and sparkle, we sought things that were hidden and covered in flesh, and made the stuff inside of us, the eternal, be the stuff that had the most value. More precious than gold, diamonds or jewels. What if we were aware of the type of treasure that may temporarily satisfy but doesn't last, and instead chose to invest in people? What if we saw people the way God does... Who loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die so that we could live with Him forever?
That's what Randy fought for. That's what the Palm House fights for. Digging for the treasure in people that may or may not see it for themselves. I think most people that knew Randy would say that he was a very rich man. As an ode and testimony to him, it is our deep desire to follow his example and see people the way that he did. We want to raise up a generation of treasure hunters that find treasure in others, especially the ones that have heard the opposite their whole lives. To have eyes like God does... How very rich we will all be!
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 16:19-21