Cross Words: ‘X’ marks the spot

By Isaiah Pauley

I don’t wear an eye patch. I don’t hold a hook. There’s no peg on my leg. But I’m a pirate. I search for treasure each and every day.

I look for happiness. I search for peace. I seek satisfaction. I long to find a treasure chest full of joy.

You’re likely a pirate, too. So let’s dig up some treasure in God’s Word, matey.

Jesus says, “‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened’” (Matt. 7:7-8 ESV).

We’re all searching for treasure. But here’s the question: where are we searching?

The Bible says, “‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’” (Matt. 6:21 ESV).

I’m drawn to a story in the first chapter of John.

“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus” (v. 35-37 ESV).

So far, so good. It only makes sense for people to follow Jesus. But watch what happens next.

“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?’…” (v. 38 ESV).

We’re all searching for something. But I wonder how many of us are searching for someone.

You see, most people only seek God for what He can do. Not for who He is. When Jesus asks this question, I believe He is challenging the motives of His disciples. God wants His people to seek His heart before His hand. This is evident in Exodus 3.

The Israelites are in Egyptian bondage. God promises to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt and bring them into a new land. The man God uses to accomplish this task is named Moses.

“Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “I AM has sent me to you”’” (v. 13-14 ESV).

God wants His people to know Him before He works through them. Then, God reveals what He is going to do (v. 16-22).

In fact, God says, “‘So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt…’” (v. 20 ESV).

Remember, God wants us to seek His heart before seeking His hand. And when God says, “I AM WHO I AM,” it’s almost as if He’s saying, “I am who I am, not what I do.” But I’ll leave that open to your own interpretation.

Here’s what I know for sure: we often seek treasure in the wrong places. We go after worldly ambitions. We think our treasure lies in drugs or relationships. And when we’re desperate enough, we pray to God. We ask Him to do something for us. We don’t care about knowing Him. Nah. We just want what He has.

But when we seek His heart, we find the booty. (Sorry, I’m trying to use pirate slang.)

Maybe that’s why Jesus says, “‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you’” (Matt. 6:33 ESV).

There’s a big “X” on God’s heart, ready to be excavated. But how? Seek Him. Dig into His Word. Talk to Him honestly in prayer. Surround yourself with people who love Him.

When you discover the treasure in your Father’s heart, there’s no need to walk the plank.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.

Isaiah Pauley is passionate about sharing Jesus in a simple way. Follow the journey of this young pastor at, on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page, or on Instagram @isaiahpauley.