The cedar chest

by Marilyn Mathis

When I was around 10 years old, I went shopping with my mom and dad. This was unusual because my dad did not shop! That was my mom’s responsibility. But on this day, dad went because he was buying! He wanted to buy my mother a cedar chest. Now I don’t remember if this was something that my mother had wanted and asked for, or if it was my dad’s idea, but a cedar chest was the gift to be bought.

We went to a furniture store in Conway, and dad bought mom a cherry cedar chest. She placed the chest at the end of their bed and made good use of it until the day she died. At her death, the chest became the possession of my son and was used as a toy chest for my grandkids.

A wonderful thing happened for me that shopping day. I received a cedar chest, too! Mine wasn’t large like mom’s. It was a small replica of the large chests and used for advertising. I loved that little chest. It had a key, and I locked all my treasures in it — my diary, love notes from boys — treasures!

One day I was showing my chest to a friend. Really I was bragging big time about what I had that she did not have. After listening to me brag and gloat, she finally had all she could stand and there, right before my eyes, she took the key to my chest and dropped it down a crawdad hole!

I was devastated. All my treasures were locked in the chest, and my key was gone — sunk in the mire of a crawdad hole. Finally, my dad pried the lid off and broke the lock. I still used the chest, but it had lost its appeal — no key, broken lock, not a safe place for my treasures.

When I became a Christian at the age of 7, God, my Father, gave me a wonderful treasure chest — the Bible! An old hymn says, “Holy Bible, Book divine, Precious treasure, thou art mine.”  

Now for many years I didn’t appreciate the treasure I had been given. I thought the Bible was for my pastor and Sunday school teachers. My mother was a wonderful Bible teacher, but we didn’t study or read the Bible as a family. Mother always studied on Saturdays to teach on Sunday. I thought that was what Sunday school teachers were supposed to do — not me. In fact, I was in my late 20s before I realized what a valuable book I had been given. The Bible was a personal love letter from God to me, His child, and is “more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her” (Proverbs 3:15).

Not only did my heavenly Father give me this treasure chest filled with the very words of God, but He gave me spiritual eyes to see and understand and a teacher, the Holy Spirit! “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” 1 John 2:27. The key to success in finding treasure is to come with an open heart into which the Holy Spirit will reveal truth. What you find is what He gives!

Do you treasure God’s Word? When was the last time you went on a “treasure hunt” in the Scriptures? We are promised that “if you seek her (God’s wisdom) as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:4-5). The seeking and searching is not academic, but spiritual. We will come to revere our God and know Him in an intimate, personal way.

I challenge you to cultivate a deep hunger for God’s Word. Be on a quest for hidden treasure.

Happy hunting!


A Conway resident, Marilyn Mathis is a wife, mother, Nana and teaching leader for First Wednesday Lunch Break. Readers can reach her at [email protected].