Treasure Hunt: Spreading Joy and Blessings . . . and Luring the Final Treasure

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Contributed by Julie Atwood.

“This morning I sense God wanting us to praise Him for His blessings.” Cheryl beams around at her group of Treasure Hunters—Bonnye, Sharla, Jennifer with her two young sons, and me—inviting each of us to share the ways He’s blessed us. As we all take off from Tom Thumb to our first-time location—the Aspasians Craft Fair in Rockwall—I have no idea how prophetic that theme will prove.

Winding our way though knots of people, bobbing balloons, rows of booths sporting everything including stuffed animals, bite-sized sample tamales, and home-stained plaques that read “Jesus saved, Southern raised,” we at first seem to spot only half-clues. Unlike the ones pictured by both Jennifer and Bonnye, none of the countless balloons dancing about are yellow. The stuffed jungle animals include tigers and pandas, but not my lion or koala. Though several flags snap in the gentle breeze, none of them sport Bonnye’s clue of black-and-white racecar checks. And though one booth features paintings of lakes alive with fish, no portrait in this bunch shows Sharla’s clue of a fishing lure.

“I know that lure’s here somewhere, though,” Sharla reflects with confidence. “I saw it clearly in my mind first thing this morning—long before I even met the rest of you at Tom Thumb.”

We do spot many employees sporting Sharla’s clues of blue jeans and blue shirts. When a pair of them barrel over to us offering drawings for a free vacation, we welcome this enthusiastic couple as our first human Treasures. “I’m doing great!” Don’s smile sparkles snowlight across his chocolate face when Cheryl asks him about prayer needs. His partner, Luanne, beams no less brightly when revealing she’s working her way through law school. Both seem to brim with gratitude when Cheryl blesses them with God’s provision.

Stopping at a booth that displays both Sharla’s clue of handwoven baskets and my roses (hand-crafted wooden ones), we end up praying God’s blessings over another beaming couple. When Bonnye asks Steve and Joanie about prayer needs, they shake their heads with enormous smiles then chorus, “Gratitude!”

“I’m good!” Kaylee, whose booth displays paintings of butterflies (my clue, though none of these are blue), continues the theme of gratitude as we also pray blessings over her.

Next comes Anya.

Music ripples through the young woman’s voice as, fluttering graceful fingers over her series of photos, she describes the themes of their butterflies and flowers (Jennifer’s clue). “You see, the shapes of these insects and plants resemble letters. I have placed them in such a way that they spell out words. Look. Here is ‘FAITH.’ And this one spells ‘HOPE.’ ” Her lilting accent reflecting her Russian background, Anya goes on to explain how her photos provide a ministry.

“I wish to make the world a happier place . . . to spread my joy.”

Cheryl gapes at Anya, then bursts out laughing as she holds up her clue sheet. “You are so my Treasure, Anya. Look at the clue I received earlier this morning. The exact words you just used. ‘Spread my joy.’

Anya’s eyes widen then dance as she joins in Cheryl’s laughter. “I truly did not see your paper before I spoke those words,” she affirms, shaking her head in wonder. When Cheryl prays God’s blessings over her then buys a photo whose critters proclaim “YES” (the “S” shaped by a fuzzy caterpillar), Anya exclaims, “You made my day!”

We next meet Michele from church, who’s already touring the Fair and who spots us as we cruise through the next aisle of booths. Noting the shiny buckles on her purse, glinting still more brightly as they reflect shards of sunlight, Cheryl tells her, “You have my clue of shiny, Michele. You’re clearly our next Treasure.” Michele receives with gratitude our prayers for her healing from knee pain.

We move on to check out several more booths, still searching for Sharla’s clue of a fishing lure. But by the time we stop for a lunch of tacos and bite-sized sample tamales, we still haven’t encountered this haunting clue.

When it’s time for us to head back, Sharla remains behind with Michele. They’d earlier made plans to spend the afternoon touring this very Fair together.

Back home, a couple hours later, I receive a call from Sharla.

“Guess what, Julie? This afternoon, after the rest of you left, I found my fishing lure!

“At a booth displaying crosses, Michele and I met Joe—the guy manning the booth. Joe was also wearing blue jeans and a blue shirt. And besides the crosses, his booth had a picture of a man fishing . . . with a lure.

“Joe wanted prayer for his family. He and his brother Jim are selling a business, so we prayed for God’s peace over them and for someone to buy their business.” With a chuckle Sharla adds, “The way that fishing lure popped into my head this morning the moment I woke up, I just knew it had to be there somewhere.”

And the moment I hang up the phone, I spin around to see—in a TV music video—

Could this be more than coincidence? For as though to celebrate this morning’s theme of blessed and grateful Treasures, a man is waving two of Bonnye’s black-and-white checkered racecar flags.

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