In Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel, Treasure Island, “X” marked the spot where the notorious pirate Captain Flint buried his treasure. But did you know there’s a real life treasure chest possibly worth millions buried somewhere in the Rocky Mountains? This fun story about Forrest Fenn is entertaining enough on its own but it also brings up what the Bible says about having a "get rich quick" mentality.
Forrest Fenn is an 87-year old former Vietnam fighter pilot and amateur archaeologist who reportedly amassed a fortune in gold and jewels during sometimes controversial explorations in the Southwest. A self-described millionaire— Fenn came under F-B-I scrutiny 10 years ago for selling artifacts he picked up in the Four Corners area but no charges were filed. Folks have also criticized him for buying outright and excavating the San Lazaro Pueblo Indian site in New Mexico.
So how do we know the treasure is real? Witnesses claim they’ve seen the chest stuffed with valuables. They say it’s nearly a square foot and fully loaded with emeralds, diamonds and gold coins— and weighs about 40 pounds.
Forrest Fenn says that when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1988, he filled the chest with treasure and planned to take it up into the Rockies and die beside it. Maybe he thought he could take it with him. But when he survived cancer, Fenn just tucked the chest away in his house for 20 years. Fast forward the recession of 2008 and that’s when he decided to bury it in the Rockies and launch what has become a massive treasure hunt. Fenn says he did it to give hope to people who might have lost their jobs— and to encourage families to get outside and get fresh air. Fenn published a poem with clues to where X marks the spot for his treasure and challenged anyone to go and find it. All we know is that it's somewhere in the thousand mile stretch of the Rockies between Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Canadian border.
Fenn says as many as 350-thousand people have trekked through the mountains looking for his treasure chest but so far no one has found it. He says he hasn’t told anyone the location, not even his wife. So if he dies, the secret goes with him. At least 4 people have reportedly died searching for Fenn's treasure. And while the Bible doesn't tell us that searching for buried treasure is a sin, risking your life in the sometimes harsh environment of the Rocky Mountains is certainly ill-advised.
Whether it's your brother-in-law's hot stock tip or crypto-currency or buried treasure, the Bible does warn us about having a "get rich quick" mentality. Proverbs 21:5— "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty" and in the case of Fenn’s treasure, maybe even death.
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