A farmer on his deathbed worried about the fate of his two apathetic, lazy sons. Near his final hours, an inspiration came to him. He called his sons to come to his bedside and asked them to draw in close. “I am soon to leave this world, my sons,” he whispered. “I want you to know that I have left a treasure of gold for you. It is hidden in one of my fields. Dig carefully and well, and you will surely find it. I only ask that you share it.”
This had his sons’ curiosity piqued, and they begged him to tell them exactly where he’d buried it so they wouldn’t miss it. But with his last breath he simply reminded them, “Dig carefully and persistently, and you will surely find it. And it will more than take care of you and others.”
Soon after the sons had buried their father, they took up shovels and pitchforks, along with their feverish curiosity, and began to turn over the soil in the field. It had not been tilled for sometime. They dug and dug until they had turned over the first field twice. After several days of digging, they had found nothing. But they decided since the field was so well dug up they might as well plant grain as their father had done. And the crop that next season grew well for them. And while it grew, they remembered their father had two fields. So, their hope and curiosity still impassioned, they began digging the second field in search of the buried treasure. After days of digging, again they found nothing. But the field was tilled, so they planted a second crop.
Of course, this went on for several seasons of digging, searching, planting, and harvesting until the sons had learned the art of farming and grown accustomed to the cycles of the seasons and the harvested rewards of curiosity and daily labor. By that time their digging and farming had earned each of them enough money to live quite happily. It was only some years later when they reflected on their years of searching for treasure and realized the treasure that was left for them was always there — awaiting curiosity and persistent digging.
This Sunday begins a new series in nine:thirty-nine and eleven:eleven celebration I’m calling Cultivating Faith as part of our churchwide “Healthy Plate Discipleship” series. You’ve probably already received information about “Healthy Plate.” The disciplines are familiar to most of us — learn, pray, give, serve, worship, and play. I want to push and pull at these traditional practices, “digging a little deeper for the treasure.” Taking a tip from Mary Catherine Bateson, let’s think about composing a life in the “kin-dom of God” by cultivating awareness, gratitude, generosity, community, joy . . . and this Sunday — curiosity.
So, for now, these two questions:
1. What if the very soul of life, the very heart of God, is a daily, moment-to-moment invitation to find treasure?
2. What do you use to go digging in the fields?
The British author, journalist, and academician Arnold Edinborough famously said,
“Curiosity is the very soul of learning and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only that the cat died nobly.”
Sunday, October 9 — Cultivating Curiosity
It’s a “hands-on” celebration as we play with riddles, koans, and parables
featuring the music of The Moody Blues, Jack Johnson,
and David Bowie.