RELATED VERSE: GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
A Letter to Read/Use As A Guide With Your Children
Are you ready to go on a treasure hunt? Listen to this story: There once was a family with four blonde-headed, blue-eyed children—Maggie 9, full of leadership, Brent (“Bink”), 7, full of playfulness; Davis, 4, full of direction; and Emmy 3, full of passion. Well, one day they got a letter in the mailbox that was addressed as follows:
“To the Baxter Children Only”
So, with a puzzled look, their Mommy handed it over to Maggie, who excitedly ripped it open while the others watched in anticipation.
“What is it? What does it say? Tell us what it says, Maggie!” the others shouted, all at the same time.
“Just a minute,” Maggie said, in her sweet, yet firm voice, “and when everybody is quiet, I’ll read it to you.” So, Bink, Davis, and Emmy all calmed down and sat quietly, waiting to hear what the letter had to say.
“Okay.” Then, Maggie began to read:
“The Baxter children are invited to go on a special treasure hunt on a mysterious island. Attached to this note is a map you will need in order to find the hidden treasure. Come tomorrow, first thing in the morning, and begin…”
“Wow! Can we go? Can we go, Mommy?” all four asked excitedly as they jumped up and down. “We’ll see,” said Mommy. “Let’s ask Daddy first.”
Well, later that afternoon, Daddy came home, and the children attacked him at the door with glee, explaining their unexpected invitation. Daddy quickly said, “Sure, you can go on a deserted and mysterious island, all alone, without a chaperone and hunt for a hidden treasure. Why not?” (Please remember, sweet ones, this is a pretend story.)
“WHEE!” shouted Maggie.
“All right!” yelled Bink.
“Yahoo!” exclaimed Davis.
And little Emmy just happily screamed twirling around the room with delight.
So very early the next morning, everybody was up and dressed in hiking attire: long pants (Mommy insisted, so they would not get poison ivy or spider bites), hiking boots for the jungly-woods, and backpacks full of necessary items such as first aid cream, Band-Aids, plenty of water, M&Ms, Snickers, and Sweet-Tarts.
When it was time to go, everybody loaded up the truck, checking twice to see if they had everything. Daddy called out, “Map?” Check, in Maggie’s hand. “Shovels?” Check, on Bink’s back. “Compass?” Check, attached to Davis’ belt loop. “Whistle?” Check, around Emmy’s neck. “Lunches?” Check, Mommy had slid them in each backpack.
“OK then, we’re ready. Let’s go,” said Daddy, secretly wishing that he too had been invited on this wonderful adventure.
After driving a while on bumpy and twisted back-roads, they came to a small dock that had a fishing boat waiting for them. The whole family transferred from the truck to the boat, which would take them to the mysterious island. Once they arrived, Mommy and Daddy helped everybody unload their things. “Be careful, stick together, follow the directions, and have fun. We love you!” they said as they waved goodbye to their four dear children.
Because they were on their own now, Maggie quickly assumed her leadership position. “Bink,” she said, “ you’re gonna go first to cut away branches and vines for us to pass; then Emmy will go next, then Davis. I’ll be last so I can see everybody. Now, we are right here at the edge of the jungle,” she said as she pointed to the map, “and we need to get here, to this ‘X-marks the spot.’ The first thing the instructions say is to go to the biggest boulder we can find on this beach area, and then go twenty-eight steps straight into the jungle.”
Everybody looked around. Davis and Bink spotted it at the exact same time. “There it is, over there. Come on!” So they all darted away to the huge rock. Once they came upon it, they got into their “assigned” positions and began to count and step: one (step), two (step), three (step)…
And the day went on: Maggie, with map in hand, would shout out orders; Bink, whistling like a “happy- go-lucky” pirate, cut down the vines; Davis, stopping every now and then to check his compass or to wipe some dirt off his shirt, followed his brother’s footsteps; and Emmy, gleefully bouncing as she stepped, pointed out every butterfly and flower in sight. At noon, they took a short break and ate their lunch by a beautiful stream. They ate and laughed and played and waded barefoot in the cold brook. But then, Maggie’s maternal instincts kicked in; she remembered there might be snakes under the rocks. At that moment, everybody promptly got out of the water, put their socks and boots back on, and resumed their search for the treasure…
After one more hour of map-following through the thick green jungle, they finally came to their last instruction. “Walk seven steps into a small clearing, turn to your left, and start digging,” Maggie read. Bink, with his good hunting eyes, spotted the clearing.
“Come on!” he said with excitement, half skipping as he and the others made the last seven steps. They all reached the clearing; Bink handed out the shovels, and they all began to dig. With each dig of their shovels, each child got a little more excited, until Emmy couldn’t stand it any longer. She threw down her shovel and started doing cartwheels and somersaults all around the hole, getting leaves and dirt and twigs stuck in her long blonde hair. Davis, doing his best to ignore these “childish” antics of his little sister, would every now and then “accidentally” fling a shovel of dirt on her as she somersaulted by. However, the next time he stuck his shovel deep into the earth, he hit something!
“What was that?” Davis asked, with a twinkle of excitement in his eyes. They all stopped short, came over to where Davis was, and began to dig in his spot. Sure enough, Maggie and Bink also heard a sudden “thud,” as they dug their shovels down in to the thick rich soil.
“This is it! It’s the treasure!” Maggie said with certainty. Everybody jumped for joy, sang a happy song, and danced a happy dance.
“Now, we all have to help each other pull this heavy box to the level ground,” instructed Maggie. So, with the boys on one side, and the girls on the other, they “heaved” and “hoed” the treasure chest up onto the ground beside the hole.
Bink used his handy-dandy hunting knife to cut some thick rope loose from the chest. Then Davis remembered he brought his “key-that-opens-everything” with him (which was also attached to his belt loop, with his compass and small flashlight). The key did its trick, and they all helped each other push on the heavy top of the treasure chest. With one last shove, the lid opened with a huge jolt, sending Emmy flipping over the top. Amazingly, she landed on her own two feet, didn’t miss a beat, and scooted to the treasure chest.
“Wow!” they all said simultaneously. The chest was full of gold, and silver, and all kinds of shiny, glittering pieces. It also contained jewelry loaded with diamonds, and rubies, and sapphires—just like the treasure you would imagine to find on an old pirate’s ship! It was all there! After staring at the treasure in amazement, and feeling the pieces run between their fingers, they began to laugh with joy over the thrill of this great adventure. What fun this day had been! They hunted for this treasure, and to their great delight, this treasure had been found!
Did you like this story, children? Wasn’t it fun to find an enormous treasure chest filled with all kinds of jewels? Wouldn’t you like to really hunt for something like that? What a thrill to find anything of great worth!
Well, did you know you already have a treasure like the one I’ve just described, and even better, in your own home? God’s book, sweet ones, His Holy Word, can be compared to the treasure chest you “found” in the story. Inside it, you will discover absolutely beautiful jewels. And obtaining these kinds of riches are far greater than any amount of silver or gold you could possibly possess. They are the “rubies” of wisdom, the “diamonds” of knowledge, and the “pearls” of understanding, as well as the beautiful gems of faith, hope, and love. And the deeper you go into “His treasure chest,” the greater the value of these jewels!
Children, I want you to also see the treasure chest as being in the shape of a cross, instead of a regular old trunk. The cross represents the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who became the “Word in the flesh.” Until you claim Him alone as your own personal Savior, you will not truly find all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Do you realize He gave up EVERYTHING, so that you might have EVERYTHING? He is God’s “great mystery,” and when you grasp hold of Him, a surge of tremendous wealth comes into your heart that will change your whole outlook on life. No longer will you lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Matt. 6:19). Instead, you will want to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do NOT break in and steal (Matt. 6:20).
Dear children, please do not let this treasure, God’s Word to you, sit on the shelf and gather dust. Lay it wide open in front of you and claim these precious jewels as your very own. Bask in His riches. May they be more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold (Ps. 19:10). For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:21).
Teaching Tools/Activities For Your Children
1. Find your jewelry box, or create one, and show it to your children.
2. Let them open the box and “touch and feel” all the beautiful and unique pieces in it. Hold pieces up to the light and let them shine.
3. While they are doing this, explain: There is an abundance of beautiful and unique riches for them which can be found in the “treasure box” of God’s Word.
A Prayer To Pray Over Your Children
Dear Lord God,
Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Ps. 119:105). It guides, corrects, teaches, moves, and loves. The wealth of Your Word is so full, so deep, so wide, and so long, that it can be read over and over, and still, something fresh and new is revealed every time it is opened! O, Father, I pray, as my children read Your holy Word, they would each be given a marvelous understanding of the great treasures inside. Give them wisdom which travels beyond their years, I pray.
May they understand the Old Testament is not just a book of miraculous adventures, but it is Your infallible Word—full of power, and truth, and prophecy, which continually points to You, dear, Jesus. You are the fulfillment of that power, that truth, and that prophecy. May they earnestly dig deep into Your Word, and find all these wonderful mysteries for themselves.
Also, help them to know, and see, and believe that we are one in the same with the Israelites of the Old Testament. Because of Your gracious adoption to all who believe in Your Son, we too, are heirs of Your kingdom! I thank You, O God, our Father!
Help them to clearly see this beautiful Old Testament picture: just as Moses led Your children, the Israelites, out of bondage and slavery in Egypt, Jesus has come to rescue each of us, Your children today, and lead them into both a life full of freedom now, as well as the promised land of heaven!
O dear God, when my children open Your Word, please open the eyes of their heart as well, so they may know who this Jesus is, and see the magnitude of what He has done for them. Take off any blinders that Satan has put on their eyes, so they may fully claim His radiance and His most wonderful act of grace as their own. (And please, may they understand GRACE—undeserved favor, given freely to sinners like me!)
Clear their minds, my sweet Savior, and my awesome God, of anything that might distract them from thinking, focusing, and meditating on all these excellent treasures of truth found in Your Word—the greatest of these being Your unfailing love.
Scripture references in letter:
Matt. 7:7-8; Matt. 13:44-46; Pr. 3:13-15; Col. 2:2-3; II Cor. 8:9; Deut. 4:29
Scripture references in prayer:
Rom. 11:33; Ps. 119:33-38; Luke 4:17-21; Gal. 3:6-9, 23-29; Ex. 3:1-10; Gal. 5:1; Ps. 119:18; Eph. 1:16-19; Phil. 3:10