When was the last time you were looking for something and ended up finding something else—maybe something you thought was lost? I know I have.
We were watching a TV show recently on historical world events. One of the topics, called “The Age of Discovery,” was about “The Silk Road.” Basically The Silk Road was a trade route overland from the Far East to the West that began maybe as far back as biblical times. The main goods that were in high demand in those days were spices. When I heard that, I thought, “Really? Not goods and services that are required for sustenance, but items to entertain our taste buds?” I decided to do some research on this topic. Here’s what I found:
Once long-distance shipping became popular, the trade routes, like the Silk Road, took to the sea. Apparently whole empires were established and toppled for the love of spices. However, those ships that set sail to find and bring back clove, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, and cinnamon, also discovered lands that had not been mapped before. Names like Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama come to mind as explorers who discovered more than wonderful varieties of exotic flavors that made spices so valuable in the first place, but who actually “discovered” places we now call home.
What began as a quest for wealth in the spice trade became monumental discoveries that changed the world. History tells us that the Age of Discovery ended when monarchs and explorers believed that most portions of the globe had been explored. In other words, they thought they had found everything they had been looking for, so they quit looking.
My passion these days is to find profound discoveries in the mundane. I feel as though God has something to say to me, and through me (and I’m not likely to have a burning bush or Damascus Road experience), so I figure it’ll be in the minutiae of life—everyday things that will reveal Him and His message to me. That is, after all, what this blog is all about.
Jesus said, “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’] …will be provided to you.” (Matthew 6:31) Generally He was telling us not worry about temporal things, but to me, it also says that I should keep exploring, keep launching a daily search for the Kingdom, and that I’m likely to find what He’s trying to reveal to me during everyday ventures.
It is believed that explorer Sir Francis Drake wrote this prayer:
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
Sir Francis Drake — 1577
If we don’t keep seeking, we’ll never find everything that He has for us. And I’ll bet that we’ll find spices along the way, too.