By Luke Holmes
By the time Howard Carter arrived in Egypt most of the great work had already been done. Across the Valley of the Kings archaeologists had uncovered tombs for most of the Pharaohs across Egypt’s history.
It was widely assumed that there was no more to be found in that area. But Carter kept looking.
By 1922 he had been excavating Egypt for three decades and found various small tombs. But he had not found the big prize he had been looking for since 1914: the lost tomb of King Tutankhamen.
Thanks to a young Egyptian boy digging in the sand with a stick, Carter found a set of steps that led to the sealed vault door. King Tut’s tomb was by far the most intact of the tombs of the Pharaohs, and over 5,000 artifacts were found inside.
For over 3,000 years the treasure of King Tut sat buried in the Egyptian desert. Untold numbers of people probably walked right over it, never knowing the value of what lied beneath them. But we routinely lose something even more valuable than that.
In our churches and in our lives, we routinely lose something more valuable than the greatest treasure in the world: the gospel.
We (often unwittingly) bury the gospel in our churches and then complain that our church doesn’t have the resources to reach the world.
Every Christian should know the value of the gospel, having received the full riches of Christ ourselves. But far too often we bury the greatest treasure we will ever have.
The gospel of Christ is the greatest treasure the world will ever know. It’s a treasure that’s meant to be shared, not hoarded or buried. But as individuals and churches we routinely hide the greatest resource our church has.
The gospel gets buried in many different ways. Here are three of them:
1. The gospel gets buried when we get busy.
Sometimes the work of the church gets in the way of God’s work. We get so busy doing all the things we have to do in order to keep the church going that we lose sight of the gospel and the power it contains.
Keeping the machine of the church going can be a full-time job for most church staff and/or volunteers. There’s so much that has to be done. Before long, the gospel is buried under kids activities, budget meetings, committees, and other activities.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these things. All of them are good and have their place in a healthy church. The problem comes when we let the gospel get buried in order to stay busy doing other things.
2. The gospel gets buried when we get lazy.
There are many times the gospel gets buried simply because we’re not doing our job as Christians in evangelism. Oftentimes we know what we need to do in order to share the gospel; the problem is we don’t actually do it.
A church that doesn’t evangelize is a church that doesn’t believe in the value of the gospel, no matter what they say. We can sign pledges, pray for people, and share verses on Facebook, but it’s no good if we don’t share the gospel with people.
Paul admonishes Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist.” That statement implies it takes work to share the gospel with others. It’s much easier to let the gospel get buried under good intentions.
In the good news of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, we have the greatest treasure there has ever been. But when we sit on our hands and don’t do the work God has called us to do then we’re only keeping this treasure for ourselves.
When we ignore the Great Commission, we bury the gospel in our churches.
3. The gospel gets buried through confrontation and compromise.
These are two sides of the same coin. We might bury the gospel when we look to be confrontational to the world in everything we do. Some Christians are simply looking for a fight, especially on social media.
The treasure of the gospel gets buried underneath the garbage of our fighting and confrontation. When we’re known more for what we’re against than what we’re for, we’ve buried the gospel.
This isn’t to say the gospel isn’t confrontational. But we can make the mistake of pushing our personal preferences on people instead of sharing the good news of Jesus with them.
In the same way, those who constantly seek to accommodate all views within the church bury the gospel when they compromise it. We can worry so much about wanting to make sure we don’t offend people that we soften the hard edges of the cross.
The gospel is welcoming to all, but when we take out all that the gospel requires of us, we bury the gospel.
All these issues are amplified by the pandemic the world faces right now. There are new and extra tasks pastors must do to keep the church going, whether online or in person.
The good news is all of our churches are sitting on something that can change families, churches, and communities.
The gospel is the power of God for salvation; it takes the old and makes all things new. We don’t have to worry that we don’t have what it takes to make the church successful or grow. We have to uncover the gospel and let the power of Jesus Christ do its work.
As we face a new and different world don’t let the gospel get buried in your church. Everyday time, pressures, and work have a way of trying to bury the Great Commission a little more.
The daily news of tragedy and suffering in the world can make it hard to see the gospel working around us all the time.
We must work to make sure we’re doing all we can to uncover the beautiful work of the gospel. Get out the shovel and dig, for you sit on the greatest treasure the world will ever see.
LUKE HOLMES (@lukeholmes) is husband to Sara, father to three young girls, and pastor at First Baptist Church Tishomingo, Oklahoma, since 2011. He’s a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and can be found online at LukeAHolmes.com.