In Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1989 adventure classic Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade a character asks the hero, “Why do you seek the cup of Christ? Is it for his glory or for yours...?” For the few days that encompassed all-boys camp a daring group of middle school boys sought to answer this question for themselves.
Treasure hunting became the theme of this all-boys camp, drawing initially from the boys viewing of Indiana Jones, Melissa introduced the concept not of tangible earthly wealth but of the treasures of heaven and the wealth that is placed by God within us.
Melissa began the teaching with a story of her recent trip to Jerusalem and her time helping with an archeological dig. While with her tour group, she received an opportunity to help unearth some of the artifacts that has been lost or buried. Though she worked hard to find some of this hidden “treasure” she was ultimately unsuccessful whereas others in her group would occasionally stop searching to yell to one of the archeologists “Hey I think I found some treasure!” Melissa illustrated to the boys how this can be representative of searching internally for the gifts and treasures that God has placed within us and how disheartening it can be especially as a middle schooler when it seems that others have discovered treasure already.
“Stockpile treasure in heaven...the place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be and will end up being.” - Matthew 6: 19-21
This verse is the core of what was imparted to the group of middle-school boys over the past week…that God has given us all a treasure and that we are called to use this treasure not for our glory, but for his. Middle school might be the most difficult time to find the treasure within. With the boys, we talked about what it looks like to lift off all that dirt and dust that covers our multitude of gifts. We gave examples, to help the boys name these different bits of dust and stone that cover our treasures, such as “craving attention, “jealousy,” “dishonesty” and “temper control”. The beauty of this exercise for the boys was not simply being able to name a struggle and ask for help in removing it, but that once they had identified and named a struggle, the group would come together to tell that boy what treasure they saw in him. The boys named these treasures, as well, pointing out his courage, compassion, resilience, joy or one of other treasures we talked about God placing inside of us.
Every one us has treasure inside of us, covered in dirt and dust and grime. It is so often only through asking for the help of our fellow treasure hunters that we are able to find the treasure that resides within us. As a reminder of this important treasure hunt, each boy was given a treasure box in which was placed a small stone inscribed by a staffer with the treasure seen within them this week. They walked away with not only tangible reminders, but reminders in the form of truth and encouragement spoken over each boy that despite our dirt and grime, we possess the God-given ability to see the treasure in each other. We’re grateful for a week of finding treasure in a brave, kind, and caring group of middle school boys.