For years I’ve been reading obituaries as parables - especially the long form life summaries that you find in the New York Times or Globe and Mail. When well written, these tributes eloquently capture the image bearing nature of a human being.
This morning I read about the life of Alex Storm - a treasure hunter who struck gold off the coast of Cape Breton. When he was young he heard stories of how the French Ship Chameau sunk in a storm in 1725. One day he asked a local fisherman to take him to Chameau Rock; the legendary wreck site. During a dive he found a cluster of rusting cannons. Then he found a piece of treasure - a silver four-livre piece, dated 1724, with a portrait of King Louis XV.
The story goes on to describe how Storm threw his life into doing whatever it would take to secure the rest of the supposedly sizable treasure. At this point in the reading it was hard not to recall Jesus’ parables of the hidden treasure and pearl;
“God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field. “Or, God’s kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.”
Matthew 13:44-46, MSG
Like finding an ancient shipwreck’s treasure, finding God’s kingdom (knowing God through Christ) leads to ecstasy - it’s a find worth giving all you have for.
“For many, the chance of finding an actual treasure holds the same attraction as winning a lottery,” Mr. Storm wrote in Seaweed and Gold. “But for me the thrill begins when realizing that research into these legends supports a real possibility. It allows for the exciting thrill and prospect of outdoors fieldwork, rugged scenery, flights of imagination and yes, even the physical exertion that could spell success, or disappointment. All of the above add up to the pursuit of real adventure, something I have always treasured!” (Globe and Mail)
Researching the stories of Jesus support a real possibility, allow for the prospect of amazing fieldwork, beautiful scenery, flights of imagination, and both success and disappointment. Life in God’s kingdom is a real adventure, something we're all made to treasure.
Reading Storm’s words, I am transported back into the kingdom adventure I am living. What an amazing call God has put on my life! I grew up hearing the stories, and then one day found the cannons, and then those first pieces of treasure. “I’ll give up everything for this Lord!” And we did, and this journey has been so life giving - with still few more chapters to play out (we trust).
Reading about Alex Storms treasure hunting passion this morning, I've been reminded of mine.
To be human is to enter into God’s kingdom story. Jesus first pointed us to this fact via the parables of the hidden treasure and pearl, and now reminds us of this calling via the Parable of Alex Storm; Treasure Hunter.