Hid Treasure

Hid Treasure

You might have heard about this story of hid treasure. It’s about a man named Forrest Fenn. NPR published a news story on March 13, 2016 that reads,

“Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, there is a bronze chest filled with gold and precious gems. The search for this hidden treasure has become a hobby for some, an obsession for others, and for one recent searcher — a fatal pursuit.

The man behind the treasure is Forrest Fenn, an 85-year-old millionaire, former Vietnam fighter pilot, self-taught archaeologist, and successful art dealer in Santa Fe, N.M.

"No one knows where that treasure chest is but me," Fenn says. "If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes in the coffin with me."

The ornate, Romanesque box is 10-by-10 inches and weighs about 40 pounds when loaded. Fenn has only revealed that it is hidden in the Rocky Mountains, somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian border at an elevation above 5,000 feet. It's not in a mine, a graveyard or near a structure. For further clues, you have to read the poem in his self-published book, The Thrill of the Chase.

Here is one stanza:

    Begin it where warm waters halt

    And take it in the canyon down,

    Not far, but too far to walk.

    Put in below the home of Brown.

Now, six years after publication of the poem, tens of thousands of people have reportedly gone looking for Fenn's treasure, thought to be worth well over a million dollars.”[1]

If that excites your curiosity to find it then you are too late, it’s all ready been found. On June 6, 2020 the search came to an end when Forrest Fenn announced[2] someone found his treasure right where he left it ten years ago. It has been estimated that there were 350,000 treasure hunters[3] on the chase and five of them died in the search.[4]

Once you hear that story the exhortation is clear. There are many things we can treasure in this life. Gold is what Forrest Flenn had to offer. But we come here as treasure seekers of another kind. Something more precious than gold. Something really risking our earthly lives for.

In a very short parable in Matthew 13:44 Jesus talked about hid treasure.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

He has another parable like it in verse 45,

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

This verse is the touchstone of our exhortation. What is the treasure? What is the joy that would make us sell everything? And, what are we buying?

What is the Treasure?

The treasure in the parable is the kingdom of heaven. It really is the prospect of the kingdom of heaven. The gospel or good news and all that entails. We often talk about the kingdom being a future time when Christ will come back and rule on this earth for a thousand years. That is true but there are principles and precepts of that kingdom that can be found out now and that can change our lives.

Paul said to the Romans, “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). The kingdom of God is something to be lived now. Christ is to rule in our hearts. It is this wisdom from above which is so precious.

Proverbs mentions this hid treasure as well in Proverbs 2:1-5,

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”

The “her” in this passage is “wisdom” (1:20). With the excitement of a treasure hunt we are to search out the wisdom of God. If we do that, then we are guaranteed to understand the fear of the LORD and the knowledge of God. When we read the Bible, we should come at it with the expectation that every word has treasure buried in it. Filled with hidden gems of wisdom, that if we follow it, will bless us in this life and in the one to come.

Proverbs 16:16 says,

“How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”

How much time and effort are we putting in to find this treasure. It is better than anything this life has to offer.

You don’t have to go traipsing about the Rocky Mountains to find this treasure. We know where it is. It’s in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul tells us this in Colossians 2:3. Reading in context starting from verse 1,

“For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:1-3)

You know, there are so many people in the world who think they are so smart yet without the knowledge of Christ they have nothing. What they know may have brought them great wealth in this age but without the wisdom in Christ it’s all worthless. The focus then of this hid treasure, this wisdom is all in Christ Jesus and he is the life and embodiment of all that is God.

How many times have you overlooked something? If you went to an antique show would you know what is valuable and what is junk? Isn’t the kingdom of heaven like that? Most people walk on by without even realizing the preciousness of the gospel of Christ. I’m here to tell you, this is priceless. Don’t mistake it for something else and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. That is why Paul here says in verse 4,

“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”

The Joy of the Find – Selling All

Moses wasn’t deceived. Hebrews 11:24-26,

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. [the kingdom]

Paul was deceived for a while but then he figured it out. He says in Phil. 3:7-8,

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”

Why was this? He says in verse 11,

“If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

In both these passages, Moses and Paul were looking forward to something else, something greater. It was for the joy set before them that they endured. It was that joy of the man in the field who found the treasure and sold all that he had. Everything else was just “dung” in comparison to this pearl of great price.

God has something planned for you which is so incredibly wonderful it is hard to understand. While we live in this flesh, we cannot fully comprehend what the Spirit has in store for us. We only know, and live by faith, that the eternal life in the kingdom with Jesus will be beyond anything we can imagine. What would you do for that? Sell all and buy it now.

Buying the Field - Investment in the Future

In the parable we considered earlier that man bought the field which held the hid treasure. It involved him having to sacrifice everything else and to invest in it.

The stock market can be very volatile. Every good financial advisor will say just keep investing, buy and hold. The short-term market moves but you have to stick to your long term financial goals.

Life is like that too. It’s very volatile with so many ups and downs. It’s so important to keep emotions in check and stay focused on our spiritual goals.

Proverbs 23:23 says,

"Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."

When we first committed ourselves to God in the waters of baptism, we made a huge spiritual investment.  We sold everything we had that was worldly and traded it in to buy stock in the kingdom of God. 

How many of us have wished that we could have had the insight to buy Microsoft or Apple in the early years?  If we knew then what we know now, then we would have spent everything on it.  We’d be millionaires by now.  Essentially, we have this insider’s tip with the kingdom of God.  Even though to the world this stock looks like a real dud we know in the long term it’s going to be a winner. It’s going to pay huge dividends.

In essence, we have put all our money into one basket, as it were, the kingdom God.  We have not diversified our portfolio. Maybe that’s not good financial advice but it’s great spiritual advice.  Even though our world may be crashing in around us we need to stay true to our long-term goal, which is the glory of God and seeking first his kingdom.  Whatever his will may be, we know and believe that he will bring us there. 

The beautiful thing about this investment is that it is free. You don’t need any money. The grace of God is a gift.

The prophet Isaiah puts this so beautifully in chapter 55:1-3,

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”


We now come before the bread and the wine. The symbol of the great love of the Lord Jesus Christ. He who made himself poor so that we might be made rich. So as we partake let us with joyful hearts praise his name who has given us such a wonderful treasure.


[1] https://www.npr.org/2016/03/13/469852983/seeking-adventure-and-gold-crack-this-poem-and-head-outdoors

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/07/us/forrest-fenn-rocky-mountains-treasure-chest-found-trnd/index.html

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/08/treasure-buried-by-forrest-fenn-finally-found-after-10-years.html

[4] https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Fenn_treasure