When I was a little boy I saw a TV show about a guy who had a bank. He was just about to be arrested by the police, so he went out and buried the money in a field. The police arrested him and took him to prison, and after twenty years, he got a parole. The first thing he did was travel back to the location he had buried the money. To his dismay, a large building had been built on it and his money was gone. Or so he thought. He started asking around town about the history of the building and found out that a homeless man had been sleeping in the very field he had buried the money. The man apparently had dug a trench to get out of the wind and discovered the buried money. He took it to the authorities and they said if no one claimed the money, it was his. No one claimed it. He built a great business with the money he had found and became very successful. The shining moment for him was when he bought the field and built a beautiful new building that hired homeless people and helped them get back on their feet. Wow. What a story.
Three things jump out at me when I think about the irony of this story. I will talk about the first 2 this week. First of all, the thief cared about the possession of something that is fleeting at best. Money. He cared about and craved it so much that he reduced himself to stealing. When he got caught he had buried the money, and was willing to spend the twenty years wishing for the day he would be free to go dig it up. He was willing to be imprisoned to get the money. But to his dismay, the money was gone. Bad move, after bad move, and the end result is a whole lot of nothing. Second of all, someone else discovered the money buried in the ground. A total stranger happened upon the buried wealth. This was a person who would put it to good use because of his deep appreciation for his life circumstances. Being a homeless man, he never forgot those who were like him. He wanted to share the wealth, not just give away the money. He made a way for people to grow from the money, not just receive it.
I will talk about the last point and continue the rest of this encouraging word next week — you don’t want to miss it!
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body, For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you…Therefore we do not lose heart. Thought outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16
The Pilgrimage continues….