As I pulled it from the soil I felt like I had discovered an ancient treasure that had been hidden for centuries.
I had extended my play and ventured into the undiscovered territory around the side of the house and quickly noticed the flap of pinkish paper poking out of the ground.
I could not believe my luck as this fragmented piece of badly decaying paper was no obscure treasure, but a five dollar note! I was six years old, and all the possibilities began to flash before my eyes as ran inside the house and told Dad who was able to exchange the tattered treasure into a brand new note!
As you can imagine my younger brother became immediately jealous. Every day he grew increasingly frustrated as no matter how hard he tried or how quickly his eyes darted back and forth, he just could not find one for himself!
I wasn't even looking for money and found it, while my poor brother had set his entire mind to finding his own only to realise he was attempting the impossible; as no kid can make money magically appear!
Although the Gentiles were not looking for a way to be made right with God, they discovered a treasure that can never be earned by hard work but only received as a free gift:
'The Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith' – Romans 9:29
God's people on the other hand had been pursuing Him for millennia. They had given themselves entirely to be made right with God but became increasingly frustrated as no matter how hard they tried it was impossible to reach perfection:
'But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him' – Romans 9:30-32
Right standing with a God is never something to be achieved, but only received by faith. (Ironically, as my brother gave up trying he discovered a blue note laying neatly on the footpath ahead of him; a perfectly executed plan by Dad!)
Faith is the only hand that is able to take hold of the treasure of forgiveness available to every one. Let go of your own efforts today and trust in Jesus!