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Finding the Rich Man’s Treasure

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Everybody knew that in a small village in the mountains there lived a very rich man.

Just why he chose to live in a small village in the mountains nobody knew. Precisely which village was his home, nobody knew either. They just knew that somewhere in those mountains there lived a very rich man.

Years went by, and there came a time when everybody knew that the rich man had died. Nobody knew precisely where or how, but it was certain that he had died. Everybody knew that.

Shortly after the time when everybody knew he had died, a rumor appeared that the very rich man had hidden his treasure. It was said to include many wonderful things, and it was hidden in the mountains. Some said it was hidden in a treasure chest buried in the ground. Others thought it was piled up in a cave.

Again, after a few years, everybody knew that this treasure included gold, magical devices of incredible power, and gems of miraculous size and incalculable value. This treasure was there just for the taking, if one could find it.

Inevitably, since everybody knew the treasure was there, someone came along wanting to find it. He climbed the mountains and questioned villagers. He wasn’t very careful. He tortured people. He burned down their houses. The villagers were peaceful and content, and had no means to resist him.

Finally one young man in an isolated mountain village said, “I am the rich man’s grandson. I know where the treasure is hidden. I’m the only one who does.”

The treasure hunter started to beat the young man up. He tortured him, demanding that he reveal where the treasure was located. The young man endured the torture quietly. The look of peace on his face enraged the treasure hunter.

“Tell me now where the treasure is, or I’ll kill you!” he shouted, holding the young man in place with one hand, and a knife in the other.

“Very well,” said the young man. “The treasure is right here. I have it.”

“But there is no treasure here,” said the treasure hunter.

“Oh but there is! You’re just not equipped to see it.”

The treasure hunter grew even more furious and killed the young man. Then he left the mountains in frustration.

In a few more years, everybody knew that there was a treasure in those mountains. It was invisible to all but those who were most worthy. People spent their lives striving to be worthy to see the treasure. Holy orders arose, with the simple purpose of living lives worthy of just a glimpse of the treasure.

Everybody knew, but they were neither rich, nor content.

(This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental, or perhaps a result of the general human condition. Copyright © 2011, Henry E. Neufeld)

(I’m submitting this post to the one word at a time blog carnival on the word “treasure.”)

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  1. Everybody knew, but they were neither rich nor content! So the real treasure here is what the searchers missed: 1Tim 6:6 " But godliness with contentment is great gain."

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