We’ve been exploring the idea that the gospel is like my wife’s purse: a bag filled with treasure. Some of those treasures seem pretty “ordinary.” And that’s too bad. But what about those treasures that you’ve simply forgotten about? The ones you stuck in the bag a long time ago and have not taken out since?
When I was a kid, “cleaning” my room involved cramming as much stuff as possible into my closet and praying that my dad wouldn’t notice when he came to inspect. Sometimes that even worked. Usually it didn’t. That means I often had to spend an afternoon pulling everything out of my closet and putting stuff where it belonged.
I remember one afternoon in particular. Toward the back of the closet, I found an old lunchbox. Thoughts of rotten PB&J sandwiches and prepubescent flies swarmed through my head. Until I opened it. Nestled inside like a pirate’s lost treasure, I found the twenty dollars I’d hidden several months earlier, a considerable sum for a small child. This was my secret stash. (I’m not entirely clear on why all kids need to have a secret stash. But it seems pretty universal.) And I’d forgotten all about it.
That was an exciting afternoon. I didn’t have anything in particular to do with the money. But that was beside the point. I’d found my secret stash! It was so exciting that I spent the next several months trying to recreate the experience. I tried hiding that lunch box back in the closet, under my bed, in another room, and even on the ledge just outside my window. Nothing worked. Try as I might, I kept remembering where I’d stashed it this time. It’s hard to forget a treasure on purpose.
It’s easy to do on accident.
I can’t remember the first time I heard the Gospel. Growing up in a Christian home and regularly attending Christian churches, I’m sure I first heard it before I could even understand what I was hearing. I’ve known about the Gospel for a long time.
But I also have an amazing capacity for forgetting things. I usually can’t remember how old I am and I routinely forget where I put things. So let’s assume for a moment that my Sunday school teachers those many years ago did a great job explaining the Gospel. How much do you think I could forget over the course of several decades? Or even just a few years? I’ve always been able to recall those “ordinary” truths we discussed in the last post. But what if there’s more? What if there are treasures in the Gospel that I’ve simply forgotten about?
I bet I’ve got a secret stash of Gospel truths that I need to rediscover.
[This is an excerpt from my book Good News for the Living Dead: A Fresh Take on the Gospel Story.]