It wasn’t until after I had handed David a gospel broadside tract that I noticed his yarmulkeh (skull cap worn by Orthodox Jewish people). Not that it mattered. We Jews for Jesus don’t go out of our way to give or avoid giving our broadsides to anyone. And since it was noon at the corner of 42nd and Lexington in New York City, David wasn’t exactly the only observant Jew on the street. He gave me a knowing smile as he took my tract. I gathered he had seen one before. Soon David came back and introduced himself.
I have a story to tell you,” he said. “Do you have about two minutes?”
I love stories, so I agreed to hear it with one condition. “If you don’t mind my continuing to hand these out while you tell the story, fine,” I said.
I may come from mellow Southern California, but I’m no dummy. I knew that the moral of David’s story would be that people like me who believe in Jesus are wrong, while people who don’t believe are right. So much for the suspense. Still, a good story is a good story. So I kept on handing out broadsides while David told me the following tale:
“Once upon a time there lived a man in the city of Pinsk. He was a good man. This good man from Pinsk started having dreams. Oy! Such dreams! You see, he had visions of a hidden treasure, great beyond comprehension. In each of his dreams, he saw the treasure in the nearby city of Minsk. He even thought that he could see the exact location of the treasure. So what did he do? He traveled to Minsk to find it.
“Before the man came into Minsk, he had to cross over a bridge. He yelled for the gatekeeper to allow him to cross, but the gatekeeper refused. The man from Pinsk pleaded with the gatekeeper, explaining the dreams to him. The gatekeeper was astonished. ‘I, too, have been having dreams,’ he said. ‘But in my dreams, the treasure is in the house where the treasure seeker lives.’
“The man from Pinsk pondered the situation for a moment and decided to follow the gatekeeper’s advice. He returned to his home and made a quick search under the boards of his house. Sure enough, he found the hidden treasure, and it was even more spectacular than he had dreamed.”
David gave me a broad smile as he concluded. “The moral of the story is that we Jews have a treasure—Judaism—but some of us go searching elsewhere, not knowing that we need to look at home first.”
I laughed. “You’re right, David,” I said. “We do have a treasure, and it is right within our reach—right in our own back yard, so to speak, because Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, as foretold by the Jewish prophets in the Jewish Bible!” I had a few other things to say on the subject, but David had the distinct impression that I had misunderstood his story. He gestured with hands and said, “Useless!”
Too bad! I liked my interpretation better. In Acts 17, Paul told the Athenians that man was created to know God, to search after him and to find him. God is not far from anyone who will search for him with a willing heart and an open mind. Yes, the treasure is all in our own back yard, if only more of my people would look.