It’s Those Who Truly Seek That Find
In 2010, an 80-year-old antiques dealer named Forrest Fenn walked into the Rocky Mountains, dug a hole, and buried an ornate box full of his finest treasures. Whoever stumbled upon the box would get to keep all the gold, jewellery and gems it contained—over $1 million worth.
If the game wasn’t already fun enough, Fenn gave hints to the box’s location in a poem he published in his autobiography. The poem was cryptic, with lines about starting “where warm waters halt” and a mysterious “blaze” marking the treasure’s spot. Solve the poem and you’d find the jackpot.
Solve the Poem, Find the Treasure
Fenn’s treasure hunt had it all—a riddle to solve, a fortune to find, risk, cost, adventure. Over the next ten years 330,000 people combed the arid Rockies for that box. Hundreds left their jobs to search full-time. Some went bankrupt, many had to be rescued, five people died. This treasure was so valuable, people risked everything to find it.
Solve the Parable, Make the Discovery
Fenn’s story gets me wondering what I’d leave everything for to find. And his poem reminds me of Jesus’ parables. Though rarely as cryptic as Fenn’s, Jesus used these poetic devices all the time to help us make other discoveries—like the parable he told of a farmer throwing seed on hard and soft ground, to get us pondering how open or closed our hearts are; or the one he told about yeast working through dough to explain how good and evil spread. Jesus rarely explained his parables. Like Fenn, the test was how much we wanted to find the answers they contained.
One of Jesus’ parables is just two sentences long. It’s about a guy who finds treasure in a field and sells everything he has to go and retrieve it. In this case Jesus explains the riddle, saying the treasure in the story is a relationship with God.
Those Who Seek
In June 2020 Fenn’s treasure chest was finally found in a remote part of Wyoming, by a medical student named Jack. The key to solving the poem, Jack said, was understanding Forrest Fenn’s personality, which he’d done by reading everything Fenn wrote and watching every interview he’d done. It all sounds like a parable itself to me.
Because, whatever treasure we’re after, it’s those who truly seek that truly find. Let those who have ears to hear, hear.
First aired on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show (listen here)