You’ve heard the stories. A man purchased an old picture frame for $4.00 at a flea market. He later discovered that hidden in the frame was an original first edition of the Declaration of Independence, worth more than $1 million. There was the Chinese bowl purchased for just $3.00. It was pretty but thought to be of little value, yet it turned out to be an authentic relic from the Northern Song Dynasty and later sold at Sotheby’s for more than $2 million.
Then there was the headliner in 2014 about a California family that discovered a can of old gold coins in their backyard—1,427 coins to be exact. The genuine gold coins dated from 1847 to 1894 and were worth more than $10 million.
Jesus captured this “discover-the-treasure principle” in Matthew 13:44. He said, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”1
Literally Jesus compares the discoveries in the Bible about kingdom living as comparable to discovering treasures. In an age when people are obsessed with lotteries, gambling, winning, and wishing for wealth, Jesus assures us that there is a legitimate way to discover true wealth and eternal riches—study the Word of God.
In the Bible one can find true wealth that will bring dividends in this life and the life to come. How can one extract this timeless wealth from Bible study?
Ellen White offers seven principles from Christ’s Object Lessons that will aid us in discovering scriptural treasures; that is, if one puts forth the effort and truly desires the rewards:
1. Daily discipline: “We have seen only the glimmering of divine glory and of the infinitude of knowledge and wisdom; we have, as it were, been working on the surface of the mine, when rich golden ore is beneath the surface, to reward the one who will dig for it.”2 Goal—reap after sowing.
2. Earnest exploration: “If men would be obedient, they would understand the plan of God’s government. The heavenly world would open its chambers of grace and glory for exploration.”3 Goal—consistent willing obedience.
3. Spiritual strategy: “If conviction comes as you search, if you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the truth, do not misinterpret the truth in order to suit your own belief, but accept the light given.”4 Goal—immediate personal application.
4. Investigative initiative: “As we study the Scriptures, we should pray for the light of God’s Holy Spirit to shine upon the word, that we may see and appreciate its treasures.”5 Goal—prayerful Spirit cooperation.
5. Righteous resilience: “He who would seek successfully for the hidden treasure must rise to higher pursuits than the things of this world.”6 Goal—seek heavenly perspective.
6. Experimental education: “It [experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ] gives to man the mastery of himself, bringing every impulse and passion of the lower nature under the control of the higher powers of the mind.”7Goal—desiring increasing Christlikeness.
7. Selfless sharing: “And as they make known the rich treasures of God’s grace, more and still more of the grace of Christ will be imparted to them. . . . More of the treasures of truth and grace will be revealed to them to be given to the world.”8 Goal—Receive by giving.
So, here’s the opportunity. The Word of God is true. If we study and desire the pure milk of the Word (see 1 Peter 2:2), we will grow. We will discover truths and be enriched with the treasures and riches of God’s Word. Since we know the above promises to be true, let’s search for the treasures, reap the rewards, and then share with others.
Delbert W. Baker, Ph.D., resides in Laurel, Maryland. He is director of Research and Development for the Regional Conference Retirement Plan/Office of Regional Conference Ministries. His wife, Dr. Susan Baker, is an educator and practicing physical therapist.
1 Bible texts are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900), p. 113.
3] Ibid., p. 114.
4 Ibid., p. 112.
5 Ibid., p. 113.
6 Ibid., p. 112.
7 Ibid., p. 114.
8 Ibid., p. 125.