"Can you see anything?"
What a question to ask! Howard Carter's mouth and eyes opened wide when his aide asked it. He had stuck his head into a timeless tomb. Beads of perspiration popped out on the British archaeologist's brow. For six straight years, he had been digging. Endless trenches. Tons of rubble, rocks, and sand. Huge chunks of worthless debris. And he'd found nothing!
It was 1922. For more than a score of centuries, archaeologists, tourists, and tomb robbers had searched for the burial places of Egypt's pharaohs. It was believed that nothing remained undisturbed, especially in the Valley of the Kings where the ancient monarchs had been buried for more than half a millennium. Even though nobody felt there was anything left to be discovered, Carter continued his pursuit, privately financed, with only a few scraps of evidence to keep him going. Somewhere . . . somehow . . . he was convinced there was one remaining tomb. Twice during his six-year search he had missed by just two yards the first stone step leading to the burial chamber.
And then, finally--EUREKA!
Can you see anything?
Peering into silent darkness, Howard Carter saw what no modern human had ever seen. Wooden animals, statues, chests, gilded chariots, carved cobras, unguent boxes, vases, daggers, jewels, a throne, the wooden figure of the goddess Selket . . . and a hand-carved coffin depicting on its golden lid a teenaged king. Everywhere was the glint of gold. It was, of course, the world's most exciting archaeological discovery: the priceless tomb and treasure of King Tutankhamen.
The tomb contained more than 3,000 objects, which took Carter about ten years to remove, catalog, and restore. "Exquisite." "Incredible." "Elegant." "Magnificent." "Ahhh!" must have passed his lips dozens of times when he first whispered his way through that ancient, Egyptian house of the dead.
There are few joys like the joy of sudden discovery. Instantly forgotten are the pain and expense of the search, the inconveniences, the hours, the sacrifices. Bathed in the ecstasy of discovery, time stands still. Nothing else seems half so important. Lost in the thrill of the moment, we relish the inexpressible finding like a little child watching a butterfly on a blossom. Such discoveries have many faces:
Solomon wrote about the greatest discovery of all: the treasure of Scripture. He put it in words that remind us of the patient, determined searching of Howard Carter:
My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1–5)
Talk about a discovery! Hidden in Scripture are vaults of priceless wisdom that can be hard to find if you're preoccupied or in a hurry. But godly truth is there, awaiting discovery.
God's Word, like a deep, deep mine, stands ready to yield its treasures. As you search, the Spirit is asking, "Can you see anything?"
As a lifelong admirer of President Abraham Lincoln, I have devoured more than a few biographies about him. Among the best was Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a volume that presents Lincoln’s brilliant political act of enlisting into his cabinet some of the men who had run against him. Surrounded by a team that didn’t believe in the viability of the Thirteenth Amendment and pressured by men in his own party to compromise with the South to end the war sooner, Lincoln refused to fold. He challenged his peers to rise above their doubts, to act upon their shared goal of ending slavery in America, and to press hard against the opposition. In the end, Lincoln’s convictions carried the day. Against all odds, clinging to hope against hope, he led this team of rivals to achieve the defeat of slavery.Marking the Milestones of God's Grace
Originally, the word referred to a stone used as a mile marker. But it can also refer to a significant point in development—a turning point in life. God showed His interest in milestones when He created ways of measuring time. He gives us all kinds of milestones. For instance, seven days make a week, and 52 weeks make a year. Holidays and seasons come around annually to signal a repeat of something significant. Milestones such as these offer us points in our journey that allow us to measure our development. They provide us opportunities to look back over time and see the memorable ways that God has graciously worked in our lives to impact others.
Now, the disciples will transition from spectators watching Jesus teach and heal to actors teaching what Jesus taught and healing as Jesus healed.
We have much to learn from Jesus’ instruction to His disciples as He prepared to send them out two-by-two.
Pastor Chuck Swindoll draws out timely truths from Matthew 9:35–10:10 for those who follow Jesus today, working in God’s mission with similar motives and methods as the disciples themselves.
All Sermons by Chuck Swindoll