8 Min Read

One Big Treasure Hunt

Published on

March 20, 2023

Ilike games, and I’m confident that at one point or the other, you loved games too. It may not have been geeky computer games or brainy stuff like chess. Still, almost every normal childhood was filled with games ranging from sporting games like football to sophisticated board games such as monopoly, snake and ladder, and ludo, to card games, donkey, to locally brewed household names like “ten-ten”, counter/crown football, police and thief, to name a few. Life was simpler then, not because life in its proper form was less complex, but because our basic understanding or map of the world at the time allowed for such simplicity that permitted prolonged engagement in games.

One game that has been a mainstay from the early days, even to adulthood, is hide-and-seek. In its nascent form, this game is referred to as “peek-a-boo”, where parents (or other baby guardians) hide and uncover one’s face. With peek-a-boo, the responses of thrill on the baby’s face are cherished moments that have led to the prevalence of this game across multiple cultures and regions. In its advanced/aged form, the game of hide and seek takes the form of Treasure Hunts.

At the Tribe, we have an annual games event held every December since our first year of establishment, tagged “The Hunger Games”. Yes, I know, quite an interesting name. However, the explanation of the genesis of the event name is above my pay grade, but rest assured, the term has worked beautifully so far.😁 While this event is celebrated with a plethora of exciting games ranging from sports-based games like table tennis to other exciting games like charades, and balloon games, amongst others, one of the most-looked-forward to games is the Treasure Hunt. While the treasure hunt is quite enjoyable (or so I’ve heard), I believe the primary reason this game has become the crowning event of the Hunger Games is that the game of hide-and-seek is encoded in the human psyche. The thrill of a hunt, of piecing clues together, the eureka moments, and the racing against time, all packed into one game, make the game so fast-paced and exciting that so much time flies by without realization.

Life on earth is One Big Treasure Hunt.

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of Kings is to search out a matter. — Proverbs 25:2

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does, from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart — Jeremiah 29:13

From the types and shadows of the Old Testament to the great and precious promises “in Christ” to the Pauline prayers to come into experiential knowledge, we can liken life on this side of the divide to one big treasure hunt, where our steps are ordered in increasing revelation. We see clues in scripture, get into eureka moments (popularly known as “rev”), act on them/put them to practice, find some treasure, or get to the next set of clues — and it goes on as we continue down the story. It’s no wonder Jesus speaking in Matthew 19:14, says that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those with child-like minds! Excited about the game, excited about the treasure hunt!

Applying this gamified perspective to life and spiritual growth, as opposed to a legalistic or lackadaisical approach, results in the child-like mind to whom the kingdom belongs.

Having been a part of four editions of the Hunger Games, I realize seven key things about treasure hunts which are applicable benefits of taking the gamified/child-like approach to life;

  1. It’s more fun than “work”. It’s met with excitement, not a lackadaisical or legalistic attitude. It’s something you look forward to, not something you wake up “tired of”. Life becomes exciting, and studying the Word becomes something you look forward to.
  2. Failures are verbs (things that happen) and not nouns (things that define). Failures to put the clues together appropriately are taken in stride, not breeding frustration but edging the players to try again. Failures are not depressing; failures do not discourage players, but they do the reverse! They get you more pumped to revisit the clues, looking for what you may have missed — because failures are not permanent. The gamified approach to life transforms perspectives on failures and enables Proverbs 24:16 — you may fall seven times, but you rise again.
  3. You’re always pressing forward till the very end. Win or lose a round; there’s always the next stage (or a repeat look at the clues) to look forward to. Eternity, being set in the heart of man, the immeasurable depth of God’s love and provision, the things eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, nor even entered into the heart of man, all allude to the fact that there’s always more in God, more to life, so many possibilities and potentials to be explored. It’s always exciting!
  4. You only leave a stage once you’ve solved it. While in some editions of the treasure hunts, teams have “stumbled” upon clues for stages they are yet to reach; it never makes sense until they’ve solved the current stage. Unlike some educational systems that “pass a student to the next class just because,” God is patient to ensure that we learn at each stage and come into specific statures before we move on to the next, so we do not make a shipwreck of our faith — and this is the reason why some persons may have remained at certain levels. As Pastor Dami taught in the teaching “The Shield: PhotoBomb”, the process is not time-dependent; it’s light-dependent. You move if you get the light/revelation (eureka moment in game terms) for a stage.
  5. It would be best if you had a team to make the Hunt. The teams with more active participants often win the games. It takes collaboration with different persons and different gifting to lead a team to victory. Like the local church, we grow by that which every joint supplies until we reach the full stature and unity of faith. We hunt/play together, and we win together.
  6. It’s highly competitive but not antagonistic. While it is a game played in teams, they are not playing against themselves — if there are three teams, then there would be three sets of clues, maps and props, one for each team. Similarly, in life, you are not playing against other people; instead, you are playing the game itself — as quickly as you can. This perspective is so clear that the teams who often win do not “send” for what others are doing — the focus is internal. Failure to focus on your race with your team would only keep you behind. Guess what? A copy and paste of what the other teams are doing — void of understanding, based on your team’s internal work — would not produce tangible or reliable results. Need I flog this matter any further?
  7. Like with the final question at the end of the Treasure Hunts at the Hunger Games, which asks, “Who Are You?” the purpose of this Hunt is more about who we are becoming than the treasures we are getting/unlocking along the way. It’s more about our transformation into the image of His Son than the “trophies” we collect along the way.

While I am excitedly looking forward to The Hunger Games 5.0, I am reminded of the ultimate Treasure Hunt happening in life every day, every waking moment. As we go into the week, I urge you to approach life and spiritual growth with a child-like mindset. It’s one big exciting treasure hunt with many clues and great and precious promises to experience on earth.

Happy Hunting!

Itoro Nehemiah


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