Last month I traveled from Seattle to Alaska. In the 1890s around 100,000 people also set out from Seattle to Alaska. They used different transportation means than I did, and they were going for a different purpose. Gold had been found in Alaska. Prospectors set out from Seattle, hoping to make a fortune. Of the approximately 100,000 who started out, only around 30,000 actually reached the Klondike. Of that number no more than 4,000 struck any gold, and only a few hundred became rich. Far more people became rich by providing transportation and selling supplies to those who had become infected with gold rush fever.
People went to great lengths, seeking after something very few found. Those who did find gold maybe thought all their desires were going to be met. No matter how much gold they found it could not satisfy the deepest needs of their soul.
Isaiah 55 asks, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (v. 2). In a way, the prophet is asking the fortune seekers of the gold rush and fortune seekers of the present, “Why are you going to so much trouble, seeking after things that won’t satisfy?”
Isaiah also gives a gracious invitation: “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. … Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (v. 2, 6). True riches can be found. All who seek the Lord can enjoy the greatest treasure.
The people of the gold rush took great risks and endured terrible hardships, trying to find gold in the cold, remote regions of the Klondike. Jesus endured greater hardships and went on the far more difficult journey of going to the Cross so that we could find the treasure of being in His kingdom.
A steamship carrying gold from Alaska docked in Seattle in 1897. People saw the gold nuggets and set out to get some of their own. In a similar way, people who know Jesus ought to live lives that let people know what a treasure it is to have your sins forgiven and be in a right relationship with the Lord. It is great when people see the riches of love, joy and peace in us and then ask where they can find some of that for themselves.
We find the greatest treasure in Jesus, and we continually long for more by seeking to get closer to Him. Those who headed to Alaska in the 1890s thought the pursuit of gold was worth a great sacrifice. The pursuit of Jesus is far more worthy of sacrifice. It’s worth giving up time, comfort and material things in order to get closer to Jesus.
Seek the Lord with the determination of the most dedicated person on the gold rush. Trust the promise that “he who seeks finds” (Matthew 7:8). What we find is that faith in the Lord is “of greater worth than gold” (I Peter 1:7). Finding Jesus is worth an all-out search.