“Wanna come Treasure Hunting?” The invitation came through the email a couple of weeks ago. For the mystified “treasure hunting is a form of prophetic evangelism where we ask Father for words of knowledge that will lead us to people on the streets to bless them - offer to pray, heal, prophesy etc. You can learn how to do it in 5 minutes. It really is very simple.” I spent a year on Go Team part of which involved approaching people on the streets to talk about faith issues and had never felt that comfortable doing it, so these kinds of offers I tended to not take up.
This offer was different for a number of reasons:-
1. I’d had a dream a few nights before which involved me being there – out on the streets with my friend Mark and a group of people. The interesting thing about the dream was that Mark insisted that we turn up butt naked. My figure is such that not only will it fill the centre-fold of play boy magazine, but quite a few other pages too – there’s a lot of me. I was worried in my dream about being seen naked by the public. I must have got over it though, because I was there, and public were not offended. I woke up asking God about the naked part of it – the street part, I well understood. It was about Adam and Eve nakedness, not being ashamed. It was about being transparent with people, not hiding behind something. It was about not having “Mel” resources tucked away in a pocket somewhere that she might rely on, rather than relying on God.
2. I read Ephesians 2:10 that morning. “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” A number of years ago, in a previous church, we had been encouraged to learn verses off by heart – much like a Sunday School would do, the big church was also doing. I made up a little tune, which has stuck with me for decades – shame that singing it now as I type will give you no indication of the tune. It’s a catchy number. Anyway, reading the bit about the good works “prepared in advance for us to do” I felt sure that this treasure hunt was a good work that God had prepared in advance for me to do. I had other things I wanted to do, but this was “prepared in advance”. It rained heavily and I wasn’t sure if “prepared in advanced” was quite good enough to keep me there if it rained. I said as much to God and it stopped raining.
3. My friend, Mark, does a lot of these interesting and challenging things like treasure hunting. His faith has spiraled out of orbit and he has such a fund of testimonies that he shares with us all. His is enthusiastic. Having said that, I don’t know how many of us join him when the invitations come. There is a group of people that go with him, from a selection of churches across the city. I suppose that I wanted to show support for Mark.
So, I went treasure hunting. I filled in my map with “clues” like “steps” and “unusual hat” and such like. I was sure that they were not Spirit inspired because we had five minutes to do it and it takes me longer than that to feel connected. In teams of four we headed out.
Did I find any treasure? Absolutely yes! Not in the treasure intended. I looked at my list and looked for the things on it and when I saw something that might match up, I lacked the courage to actually go for it. I found a half-dozen things that didn’t match. I prayed for two people from a safe distance, but on the whole I wouldn’t say I succeeded. My mind got in the way. Some of the people we met and prayed for I knew and although they said they felt better, because I knew them, I wasn’t sure how sincere they were. Sometimes people say what they think you want to hear.
So, what was my treasure? It was in meeting Justin, the group leader. He was so encouraging and enthusiastic. He let me voice all of my concerns and never let me feel that I was jinxing the whole hunt. He talked of his own early efforts at treasure hunting. Any time it looked like I was dragging my heels – I wasn’t, I am an natural ambler – he came back to walk with me, put his hand on my shoulder and chat. At one point he just stopped and told me that God thinks I am wonderful, that I am a princess.
“I came, I saw, I conquered” – not quite. I went for sure. I am not sure if you have to have a gift for these kinds of activities. It is like looking at those squiggly lined pictures and seeing the 3-D image – I can’t see them. My gift does not lie in that direction – which isn’t to say that I can write it off and not be out there. I saw – I saw Jason’s enthusiasm and his kindness and compassion spread about liberally. And I saw that a lot of people were generous in giving him the time and the opportunity to talk and pray with them. I conquered? I was there, so I suppose there was an element of conquering – but, at best I paddled in the water. I watched others diving in and swimming in the Spirit and it was glorious to watch.
I met up with my husband at the end of the day. He asked how it had gone and I told him. He had spent the day watching some football match or other.
“I met a man,” he said, “he stood next to me at the bar and told me that he had met a group of Christians.”
The man carried a walking stick. Walking sticks might not have been a clue on anyone’s list but they asked if they could pray for him. He didn’t really want them to pray for his gammy leg which wasn’t giving him any bother right then, but he had hurt his toe on his other foot. He told them about his injured toe and asked them to pray for it. It got better. I don’t know whether he went to any lengths to take off his shoe and wiggle his toe, but, as he told my husband later, the toe was definitely better.