Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
It’s just a bizarre story from the relatively recent past.
It sounds like something from the old west, or from the era of pirates on the high seas. Actually, it’s kind of related to both.
Here’s what happened.
A while back, a treasure hunter named Tommy Thompson and his girlfriend raised $12.7 million of capital from a group of investors for the purpose of allowing them to locate and then raise sunken treasure off the ocean floor. The treasure was inside a ship that sank in 1857, the SS Central America, also known at the Ship of Gold. Tommy first located the side-wheel steamer back in 1988 but needed funding to be able to collect and raise the treasure. He found the ship some 200 miles off the coast of South Carolina where it sank in a hurricane having been loaded to the gills with gold from the Gold Rush of California. Some 425 people perished in the original tragedy.
So, using modern technology funded by his investors, Tommy and his crew brought up thousands of gold bars and coins, just as he promised he would. These were later sold to a gold marketing group for about $50 million. This was done in the year 2000.
The problem? This is where the story ends. Sort of. Tommy and his girlfriend accomplice never repaid their investors; not a single one of the 161 people who put up the money were ever allowed to share in the reward. Tommy Thompson and Alison Antekeier just took off with the loot. They vanished into thin air and for a while became more elusive than the original treasure was.
An all out national search was launched for the couple. They were now searching for the ones who had been tasked with searching for the gold. They were searching for the searchers!
The U.S. Marshall’s Office referred to Tommy Thompson as “one of the most intelligent fugitives ever sought.” He did everything he could do to stay under the radar. For a while, they did. The Marshalls searches were turning up nothing.
Eventually the two of them were located and arrested in a hotel room in Florida where they had been paying cash and using fake names. The place they were staying was reported to be in a very nice area of Florida. They were kind of wealthy, after all. But, not really.
So what does this story have to do with us? I think Jesus is also searching for the searchers. We may be more complicit to this story than we’ve ever realized.
In John 4:35 Jesus said,
“Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
Jesus wasn’t talking about crops, he was talking about people. People who were ready to receive the truth he would offer them. They were as ready for the treasure as they could ever be.
In Matthew 9:37-38, he added this:
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
Let me translate, “The treasure is ready to be discovered. Pray for people who, when they find it, give it away as freely as I gave it to them.”
Jesus, to this day, is still searching for those who will search… not for the treasure, for this is freely given, but rather for those who will take seriously the challenge to give the treasure away to others. He is searching for those who will search for others who haven’t yet found it.
Are you keeping the treasure for yourself? As much as it’s incredible to realize your riches in Christ, Jesus’ incredible investment in you was not just for you…
Rather, the treasure was also for your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your… This is the return on investment Jesus is desiring!!!
Freely you have been given, freely give!
Whom will you share your treasure with today?