When I was walking on the seawall in Devon a couple of weeks ago there were two men with metal detectors searching the beach. I never saw them find anything but they spent a lot of time looking. Then last week a couple of off-duty paramedics were in the news after finding a hoard of Roman coins in a field near my home with their metal detectors.
There were no metal detectors in evidence in North Bay in Scarborough yesterday morning when I took an early walk to spend time alone with God. There were walkers and runners and dog walkers, and council workers cleaning the beach and pavements, but no treasure hunters. Later in the morning our daughter-in-law and another teacher took the younger children from church down to the beach instead of holding Sunday school in the church during the service. The children were encouraged to dig and were able to find buried treasure in the sand. When we joined them on the beach after church our grandson proudly showed me the treasure he had found. He remains blissfully unaware that his teachers had buried these trinkets for the children to find.
Reading Scripture this morning I felt a bit like a man with a metal detector as God opened His word to me and revealed hidden treasures in its pages. I am reminded that you have to search for treasure. It takes great patience to search a large beach or a field, and great commitment to keep on searching knowing that many searchers find nothing. Perhaps that is because they are looking in the wrong place, or with the wrong attitude, or without expectation?
The reason that people with metal detectors keep on looking is the expectation that one day they will find something valuable. The excitement of the two paramedics when they were interviewed on the local news programme about the Roman coins they had discovered was palpable. This was the best and most valuable treasure they have ever found. The best treasure I have ever found is not something I can hold in my hand but something I hold in my heart. This is the treasure of knowing not just that God created me, but that God loves me so much that He gave His most valuable treasure to rescue me. I cannot put a price on such treasure.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46 NLT)