We are all searching for the treasure we’ve not yet found — something deeper, more meaningful, more beautiful, as that quest continues to urge us onward, climbing the slopes of the unknown. Where will we find it? How will we know when we have? How will we recognize what we’ve been searching for?
Neither a new Lexus or BMW will suffice. A second or third home or an eighth or ninth home is only further proof that those who’ve gone this route are still searching. The same is true of the one who sits in church week after month after year desperately longing to know for sure that they are “right” and others are “wrong.”
This recalls for me a story about a man who was looking for a lost coin in the village square. Other people came and helped him look all around the area where he was searching, but to no avail went on their way wishing him well. After a while of searching, one person asked him where he was when he lost the coin. The man answered and said that he had lost it in his home. With no small amount of frustration, his helpers thought he must be crazy. One said, “If you lost it in your home, why are we looking out here in the village square?” “Because the light is better our here,” he replied.
How often do people find themselves searching for what they’ve lost in places where they didn’t lose it? Indeed, how vain it is to search for deep peace, happiness, contentment, and security in all the external places rather than recognize that they’ve all been lost internally instead. The treasure we seek is deep within (the kingdom of heaven as Jesus taught) and it is awaiting our finding it perhaps only when we finally realize that we’ve been looking in the wrong places. First of all we must know where it is not to be found — in riches, in adult distractions, or any external fabrication.
Many search for the objects of their longing in places where they’ve believed the most light is — philosophy, theology, explanations, justifications, and a mental reasoning that is void of divine connection. When looking within, we must also remember that at times we must search in the darkest corners — the ones we’ve been afraid to admit are there. The dark corners of unconsciousness are within us all, but until we face them, admit them, step into them and turn the Light on, we will not know of what we seek. Remember, the stars of the heavens are still shining in broad daylight. Only the darkness of night can reveal them, just as at times, it is the darkness within that will reveal our true Light but only when we step into it and then transform it. More on this later. Externals will never reveal our Light.
If a treasure is to be found, does it not make sense to search for it where it is, rather than where it is not? Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21) — not up in the sky, not in church, not in political dominance, not in some future heaven — but WITHIN and AMONG you.
The Aramaic word WITHIN also means AMONG with an equal amount of weight. Taking the time to do the work of searching, learning, discovering more and not being satisfied with less is the requirement for finding the treasure. Knowing where and how to search is the difference between being satisfied with just a picture of the treasure in one’s hands or holding the truth itself deep within. For this to happen one must come to the place in their life where they begin to lay aside what they think they know and turn within! But how many actually find the courage to allow the search for that “treasure” to dramatically alter their lives? This is what Jesus was talking about when he told the rich young ruler to “go sell all you have and then come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:21) Jesus was talking about much more than a literal selling of possessions.
Even the preachers who are trying to convince their listeners that they know where and how to find the “treasure” often have not found it themselves. The treasure is not theology nor their interpretations of the same. Before I wrote my first book (“Jesus Was Not A Christian”) I interviewed hundreds of ministers all over the country. I asked them three questions. And, sadly, not one of them could answer any question accurately. It was not with a small amount of embarrassment that they realized what they had missed. My point of reference was Luke 17:20-21.
The first question was: Where did Jesus say the kingdom was? I got answers such as “church,” “the future,” “heaven” and some obvious grunts of dismay.
The second question was: Who was Jesus talking to when he said “the kingdom of heaven is within you? The most common answer was “his disciples.” Then I got “his followers,” “Peter,” and other stabs in the dark. Not one of them realized that Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees! Since Jesus spent most of his teaching on the importance of entering the kingdom, the third question was: How are we supposed to enter what is already within? Here is where I got answers like “get saved,” “repent,” “be born again,” and other theological fabrications that never came out of Jesus’ mouth re: the kingdom and entering.
What Jesus taught is (or should I say, the English attempts to explain it):
Matthew 5:20: Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees (the religious hypocrites) and scribes, you will not enter the kingdom.
Matthew 7:21: Not everyone who calls me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom — but …
Matthew 23:13: Woe to those hypocrites who refuse to enter the kingdom and in doing so prevent others from entering it too.
Mark 10:15: Whoever does not receive the kingdom like a little child, will in no way enter into it.
John 3:5: Only those born of water AND the Spirit can enter it.
None of these teachings has anything at all to do with beliefs and/or theology — none! These principles are about something much deeper and more profound than what has entered the theological minds of the early church fathers and the organized church that has never embraced or practiced what Jesus taught about entering what is already within. Why not? Could it be that the men of the church have not known how to enter it themselves? Why hasn’t the Christian church become a world-class example of practicing this vital teaching of the one they call “Lord?” Is it our refusal to become like children, or our not knowing how to do this that keeps us out of the Kingdom? The “kingdom” in Aramaic is malkutha – I’ll share an amazing insight into this next time.
The parable of the wise and foolish virgins tells the story very well about those who are ready to “enter” and those who will not because of their lack of a vital preparation ahead of time. More on this too, in my next article.