By Eugenie Daniels
From childhood, Mel Fisher was fascinated by pirates and their treasure troves. As an adult, Mel searched for 16 years for a lost ship called the Atocha. Then, one unbelievable day, he found it. The galleon contained stacks of silver bars and chests filled with coins, gold, and jewels. He finally found the treasure he had been seeking.
Like Mel Fisher, Christians are seeking a treasure too. But the Christian’s treasure is one of contentment accompanied by complete trust in God and strength for life’s difficulties.
To learn about this treasure we can follow David, our guide, from shepherd boy to king. As a lad shepherding sheep, David didn’t spend the long hours on his own complaining about being stuck with the sheep or being frightened of the dangers he faced. Instead, he spent the time with God. He was able to say, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer . . . he is my shield . . . and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:2, 3, NIV 1984).
Trust and Strength
The treasure David found in God helped him when the Philistines and Israelites were at war. The Philistines sent Goliath to fight. Goliath was a giant warrior whose coat of armor alone weighed 125 pounds. The iron point of his spear weighed 15 pounds and his attitude said, “I never lose!”
No Israelite soldier would fight him, but David volunteered to go. He went armed only with a sling and some stones. His attitude was, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine”
(1 Samuel 17:37, NIV). And God did.
Did you display a courage like David’s when you fought the last giant you faced? You can. This kind of courage is one of the treasures available to us.
In the 1800s, George Muller felt God calling him to build orphanages in Bristol, England. At the time he had the equivalent of 50 cents in his pocket. What would you have done?
Muller did not try to raise the funds or try to get other people to help him. He prayed. He housed, fed, and clothed thousands of orphans over a 60-year period by praying. The children never missed a meal.
Muller’s faith, built by spending time with God, enabled him to face this giant challenge and win. A daily quiet time yields a treasure of faith worth more than gold.
Knowledge and Righteousness
David faced a different challenge when Saul pursued him in the desert of En Gedi with 3,000 men. Saul entered a cave without realizing David and his men were also there, hiding in the back. Who would not agree with David’s men that the Lord was putting David’s enemy into his hands?
But David forbade his men to attack Saul. He let him go. Because he had spent much time alone with God, David knew God would not approve of his killing the king. David wrote, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). In spite of advice from others, David was willing to let God judge between Saul and himself. Knowledge of God and righteousness are treasures that go hand in hand.
Jim Elliot was a missionary to the Quechua people of Ecuador. His group of missionaries made contact with the Auca Indians, a violent tribe. After a time, they felt they were ready to present the gospel to them. On January 8, 1956, the Aucas attacked and killed Jim and three others. But that is not the end of the story.
His wife, Elisabeth, and his daughter, Valerie, remained in Ecuador. They worked with the Quechua, but later moved to work with the Aucas. Elisabeth Elliot forgave them for her husband’s murder and her work with them was successful.
Like David, Elisabeth Elliot knew that the hard thing is most often the right thing to do. Knowing this, and doing it, even when others advise against it, is a treasure that is cultivated in time spent with God.
Honesty and Confession
One would think King David had found the right path. But then David lusted after another man’s wife, committed adultery, planned the murder of her husband, and took the widowed woman as his wife.
Then Nathan the prophet came to King David with a story about a man who had many sheep, but took the only sheep of his neighbor to feed a guest. Nathan used the story to confront David with his sin. His punishment was devastating. “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you,” the Lord said (2 Samuel 12:11).
But David did not die. The Lord took away his sin. David prayed, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:4).
I may not have committed murder, but I have sinned. One of my sins was to ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit. When it seemed the Holy Spirit was leading me, my practical side took over and countered, “Maybe it really isn’t the Holy Spirit. If you do that, you will have to give up time you can’t spare. You can’t afford to spend that money.” Then I would walk on as if nothing happened.
But then God sent me a messenger. I was reading how the Israelites wished they were back in Egypt because freedom in the desert seemed too hard. I thought I’d never be like that. But then the Holy Spirit got my attention. “Yes, you would.” Like David, I saw and admitted my sin. Our quiet time gives us the treasures of honesty and confession that keep us on the path of righteousness.
Protection and Direction
David and his men were returning to Ziklag. They found the place destroyed by fire and their families gone. They all wept, but then the men needed someone to blame, so they talked about stoning David.
David could have tried to reason with his men or get some of them to help him fight off the others. Instead, he dove deep and strengthened himself in the Lord. Then he sought direction from the Lord. “Pursue them,” God answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue” (1 Samuel 30:8). David did.
When we dive into a regular quiet time, we can say with David, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).
George MacDonald influenced people like G.K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis with his books. He was angered by people who claimed to be Christians but lived secular lives. He lost a church because he urged his congregation to stop living for material interests and live by Christ’s teachings. MacDonald was frustrated in ministry and he and his family suffered from ill heath and hard times.
George MacDonald had a deep relationship with God. He learned two things that gave him protection and direction. He learned that hardship could be sent by God to refine the soul, so he was able to endure ill health and hard times. Second, he found direction in the gift for writing that God gave him. His books continue to influence many more people than he could have reached through a local church.
The Riches of Christ
Diving into a daily quiet time yields priceless treasures: trust, strength, forgiveness, righteousness, direction, and protection. Our daily quiet time introduces us to the treasures of the riches of Christ—the only treasure worth having.
Eugenie Daniels is a freelance writer in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Learning from Heroes of the Faith—Who Are More Like You than You Think
50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith
by Warren W. Wiersbe
(Baker Books, 2009)
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
by Eric Metaxas
(Thomas Nelson, 2010)
by Bruce Olson
(Charisma House, 2006)
Shadow of the Almighty
by Elisabeth Elliot
Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce
by John Piper
(Crossway Books & Bibles, 2007)