Remember the children’s poem, “Going on a Bear Hunt”? We learned it in camp or Vacation Bible School—an “echo” song with silly actions, where we followed the leader through tall grass and thick mud to find a bear . . . and then we ran back home to hide under the covers. Bear hunts were fun!
Remember Hide and Seek? When my kids were young, they’d “hide” by just closing their eyes. If they couldn’t see me, then I couldn’t see them, they reasoned. There they’d stand, clearly visible, “hiding” in the middle of the hallway, with their eyes shut tight. They weren’t very hard to find.
There’s something exciting about going on a hunt—about looking for a treasure. The thrill is in the hunt, and the reward is in the discovery. The apostle Paul knew this to be true—not just for children, but for followers of Christ. The Christian life entails a childlike faith, an exhilarating pursuit, a lasting treasure. Speaking about the Christians in Laodicea, Paul wrote to the church in Colossae, “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2, 3).
Paul’s greatest wish—for himself (Philippians 3:10) and for others—was to know Christ. Paul said that, more than anything, knowing Christ is a treasure hunt worth pursuing.
How to Hunt
The thrill is in the hunt . . . and the reward is in the discovery. Seeking such a treasure—knowing Christ himself—will take every part of us: our heads, our hearts, and our hands.
Search Out: A Mind to Know Christ
My son Nathan has always been on a quest to know more. An academic by nature, Nathan has read more in his two decades of life than I have in my more-than-four. A junior at Ozark Christian College, Nathan reads theologians, desert fathers, philosophers, Bible commentators, and, most of all by far, the Bible. Having a mind to know Christ requires dedicated, disciplined Bible study and Scripture memorization. OCC has always taught “the Word of Christ in the Spirit of Christ,” and as Nathan searches out truth in the Bible, he searches out Christ himself. Day by day, Nathan learns more about the Christ he loves, and the thrill is in the hunt. As he “asks, seeks, and knocks,” he discovers that Jesus wants to give “so much more” than he can imagine (Luke 11:9-13).
Of course, those of us who aren’t Bible college scholars can still search out Christ through his Word. Through diligent Bible study, we can know “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” that are ours in Christ. Maybe it’s a daily Bible reading plan, or a long-term Scripture memory project, or journaling through a book of the Bible, prayerfully asking the Lord to reveal truth as we go. In whatever method we seek to learn “the Word of Christ in the Spirit of Christ,” the thrill is in the hunt!
Uncover: A Heart to Love Christ
On our treasure hunt, we’ll uncover riches—unfathomable, untold treasures that are ours in Christ. What abundant life, what deep love, what insurmountable power, what inexpressible joy he has for us. The more we search out, the more we’ll uncover these eternal treasures.
My middle daughter, Anne, has always been a kind-hearted, compassionate “feeler.” Anne’s strength is her heart, and she loves deeply. Anne doesn’t just “have friends.” She nurtures lasting relationships.
In May, Anne graduated from high school, and for the past few months, I’ve been in a mom-panic, trying to cram important last lessons into her final few days at home. Can she do laundry? Yes. Make her bed? Check. Follow a budget? Well, she knows how, at least. But while all those tasks certainly have a place, there’s only one thing she needs for true life: the person of Jesus Christ. More than anything, I want Anne’s strong heart to love Jesus. To cling to him, to love him, to know him as the most faithful friend, the sweetest Savior, the most loving Lord.
When we have hearts to love Christ, we will uncover the “full riches” found only in him. We’ll come to know Jesus, not because it’s the dutiful obligation of a Christian, but because we’re in a loving relationship with him. We’ll find that “whoever comes to [Jesus] will never go hungry, and whoever believes in [him] will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). We’ll know that the truest, most lasting treasures—life, peace, joy, identity, satisfaction, purpose, and more—are found in Christ alone.
Apply: Hands to Serve Like Christ
A third step in our treasure hunt to know Christ is application—not just hearing about Christ, or even experiencing his love, but putting his truth into practice. We never look more like Christ than when we serve—it’s the whole reason Jesus came (Mark 10:45)—and we’ll never come to know him better than when we follow his example in service.
My youngest daughter, Molly, has hands to serve. As a young child, she carried out her household chores with diligence. In middle school, Molly spearheaded a book drive for our local Ronald McDonald House. Now as a high school student, she leads worship each week in her school’s Christian club and at church, and she mentors a group of fifth grade girls. Molly doesn’t just hear the words of Jesus. She puts them into practice, and the result is the treasure of knowing the wisdom of Christ (Matthew 7:24).
Service—action—may be the most frequently forgotten aspect of the hunt. It’s easy enough to search out Christ with our minds, and to uncover his riches with our hearts, but applying his words with our hands is hard work. Serving like Christ requires perseverance, humility, and sacrifice. Even though service requires a lot, the reward of knowing Jesus through it makes our labor light.
But Why a Hunt?
Treasure hunts are exciting, but sometimes . . . we’d rather not go on a hunt at all. Truthfully, at times, I’d prefer that the treasure just stand in plain sight, in the middle of the hallway, rather than having to look for it. When it comes to knowing Christ—to discovering the mystery of God in Jesus—why does it have to be a hunt at all? Wouldn’t it be easier if God would just reveal himself to us, rather than make us search for him?
Answer: because faith comes in the pursuit. Faith is found in the hunt, and trust is built in the search. If all the answers were handed to us—if all the mysteries revealed—then faith wouldn’t be necessary . . . and faith is what pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus said, “The one who believes has eternal life” (John 6:47). In other words, the thrill is in the hunt—what faith! And the reward, the abundant, eternal life that comes from knowing Christ, is in the discovery.
Amy Storms serves as marketing and communications director at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. She and her husband have three teenage children. (amystorms.com).