Do Not Seek The Treasure
By Greg Quinn
December 28, 2004
One of my favorite scenes from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is when Everett (played by George Clooney) and Delmar (played by Tim Blake Nelson) were in the movie theatre. They had thought that Pete (played by John Turturro) had been turned into a toad by the beautiful sirens, and the one-eyed Bible salesman played by John Goodman had squashed him and Pete the toad was therefore dead. The scene unfolds with Everett and Delmar watching a movie, and a gang of prisoners was in the theatre behind them. Then, back behind Everett and Delmar, from the crowd of prisoners, came the words, “Do not seek the treasure”. It was Pete. Responding with surprise, Delmar said, “We thought you was a toad.” Back and forth it went: “Do not seek the treasure”, “We thought you was a toad”, “Do not seek the treasure”, “We thought you was a toad”, “Do not seek the treasure”. It was a very funny scene. Taking a theme from this hilarious scene, “Do not seek the treasure”, it seems that this sentence deserves further examination. “Do not seek the treasure” seems to be contrary to the theme of most of our lives, yet it could not be more profound if it were spoken to all of us by God himself, instead of from Pete the ex-toad at the back of a dark theatre.
“Do not seek the treasure”. Most of us spend our lives doing just that, seeking the treasure. We go to the jobs that pay us the most money, we work more and more hours to buy more stuff, we get further and further in debt to require us to work even more, and our families and health and relationships with God and everyone else suffers while we “seek the treasure”. “Seek the treasure” is the national pastime. The Christmas holiday has become a proponent of “seek the treasure”. While there is nothing wrong with prospering, and God commands us that we should work to meet the needs of our families, putting undue emphasis on “treasure” as the end result of our life’s work puts our emphasis on the wrong things. If “seek the treasure” is your major purpose in life, then other people will be hurt in the process, and you could “seek the treasure” and miss Heaven and the opportunity to spend eternity with God.
If we listen to Pete, and “do not seek the treasure”, then what do we seek? Jesus tells us himself in the Bible. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus is telling us to not worry about the things of this world, and instead to focus on the things of God. As recorded in verse 33, Jesus says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The “things” he is referring to are the things we need, the things that we often count as “treasure”. Jesus is saying that if you seek first God and his righteousness that you will be exceedingly rich in the things that truly matter, and at the same time God will certainly take care of all your needs. In terms of “treasure”, Jesus also tells us about true treasures. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
So, if we seek the kingdom and righteousness of God, and the treasure we seek is the treasures in heaven, then what is this that we are to seek? Jesus says in John 15:12, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” The apostle Paul, the greatest witness for God ever recorded, tells us in Ephesians 6:13-20, that our “treasure” and our “armor” are truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, prayer, perseverance, and a bold witness. These things, covered with love, are the things that we seek in life, the things that will be blessed of God and that will bless other people. And, the things that will truly make us rich.
“Do not seek the treasure”. Pete was right. We are to seek God. Do this, and you will achieve a very rich life.
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