Matthew 13: 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What serendipity and good fortune it was for the man to find that treasure hidden in a field. What are the chances of that happening?
Finding the Un-Found
I don’t know about you, but there is a brief moment of happiness when I stumble upon something, either online and off, that I feel no-one else has ever accessed before. Be that a deserted beach, a woodland track, an über-cool restaurant or coffee house. Even a youtube video, image-stock, or resourcing website, etc. I am torn in my reaction, do I keep this for myself or share it with the world? (usually online content I want to share, but the former I want to keep disclosed – my bad!)
In the online arena I sometimes like to think that I have made an amazing discovery, and it will be me who starts the viral revolution. The truth is that through the cleverness of advertising, product placement and positioning of related content, however serendipitous I thought my discover was, someone somewhere meant for me to make that discovery. There was probably no accident, no coincidence, or good fortune involved, the chances are that I was suppose to find that content all along.
SEO – Helping others to find treasure
For the last three years I have been involved with the development of an online collaborative Christian resourcing site called Bible Reflections, which seeks to promote respect and understanding of the Bible. Over that time my expertise in the area of SEO has increased. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and relates primarily to how search engines trawl your site, and then present their findings to the world. Full of mythical formulas and solutions, SEO is an art-form. The best way to understanding how SEO works is to try and get your head around how Google’s three primary algorithms operate. If you let it, SEO and related subjects will blow your mind – and just you wait until you find out how social network advertising really works; with adverts being generated based on your personal details.
The internet is about seeking and finding, asking and receiving. Some people will find the things they are specifically seeking, and others will find things they didn’t even know they were looking for – a serendipitous discovery, we might say – or is it
More of a Browser than a Searcher
The man who found the treasure hidden in the field probably didn’t even know he was looking for treasure, “What good fortune it was for the man to find that treasure hidden in that field….What are the chances on that happening?” We might say. We don’t know anything about the man, was he a farmer? probably not, Jesus usually mentions occupations in His parables (farmers/fishers/builders/servants). The man could have just been in the field with no other agenda then to take a walk. Not searching, not looking, just out for a stroll and taking a browse in the field whilst soaking up its surroundings.
Serendipity or Pre-Destination?
Was the discovery of the treasure accidental, or chance, or good-fortune, or coincidence? was the discovery mere serendipity? Or was there more to it? was the man actually meant to find the treasure? had the treasure been placed in the field for that man to find? some might call this pre-destination.
Re-Telling the story to a technological generation
What if we were to re-write this parable for a technological generation? How would it read? If the person browsing the web was the man in the field, and the field were the internet, what might the Kingdom of heaven – the treasure – be?
Perhaps with every online submission of content we make that seeks to glorify God, we are depositing treasure in the field for people to find? Both those who are actively searching, and for those who are merely browsing.
Some things to think about:
If those who are seeking, find, and those who are knocking receive an open door, is it possible for those who are not seeking to find?
If we are ensuring that the field of the internet is being filled with treasure (online content that glorifies God), what part does prayer play in a person discovering it?
How does predestination (the man was meant to find the treasure) work alongside serendipity (the man found the treasure by chance)?
Are churches better equipped for those searching or for those browsing?