A Raiders of the Lost Ark Devotional: Use vs. Value

Britt MooneyBy Britt Mooney11 Minutes

Devotional #4: Seeing the Unseen

The wrong treasure blinds us to the real one.

At several points in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones makes a choice. Yes, there are moments where he is warned, but his path also confronts him with another treasure that he could seek.


Finding the lost Ark of the Covenant had been the passion project of Indiana’s mentor, and now the treasure seeker must go into his past and search out his mentor, Ravenwood.

He hasn’t talked with Ravenwood for years because of Indiana’s romantic affair with the mentor’s daughter, Marion. Indiana tracks Ravenwood to a bar in Nepal, finds Marion, but also discovers that Ravenwood has died.

Marion knows where the secret amulet is, the one item that can help Indiana locate the Ark; she has it. Indiana doesn’t want her to come along, but she uses his desperation to force his hand and take her with him.

As the movie progresses, Indiana is given a series of choices. What will he chase? The Ark or Marion?

The story is continuing to give Indiana the opportunity to choose Marion, who represents love, connection, community.

Here is Indiana Jones’ second fatal flaw. He doesn’t believe in the unseen. The educated, intelligent part of him dismisses all this God stuff. It’s not real. It’s a lot of nonsense.

He can’t see the unseen, where we understand true value, which includes Marion.

Not only does the wrong treasure lead us down a path of self-destruction and death, but it blinds us to the real treasure (Romans 11:25). We can sound incredibly intelligent and educated while chasing the treasure that will kill us, much like Indiana Jones.

In the Sermon on the Mount, after declaring that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” he continues with the importance of our “eye.” If we have a good eye, our being is filled with light, but if our “eye” is evil, then our being is filled with darkness (Matthew 6:21-24).

What does this mean? For that culture, an “evil eye” meant greed, searching for earthly wealth. This connects with the following verses, where Jesus continues, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is wealth and earthly riches.

Our eye is what we seek, what we focus on. We become what we focus on. This is why a young man who decides, “I hate my dad, I’ll never be like my dad,” ends up becoming like his dad despite his hate. The dad was his focus.

At the root, this is also the emptiness of legalism, which the Apostle Paul tells us has no value in keeping us from sin (Colossians 2:20-23). Quite the opposite. The Law tells us what is wrong and then we do that instead of what is right (Romans 7:15-23).

We must have something new to focus on, a new goal. God replaced the moral law with himself, the ultimate and only good. When we focus on He who is eternal and good, we become like Him. The death and resurrection of Christ opened the path to reconciliation of relationship so we can see God by faith (Hebrews 11:1-3).

We will be like him when we see him as He is (1 John 3:2). We don’t put to death our sin by our own power but in cooperation with the Spirit (Romans 8:13).

The real treasure is eternal. God and his Kingdom. We can’t lose that treasure. That’s the one worth chasing.

Marion is a person made in the image of God, an eternal being of infinite value. Because Indiana keeps choosing the wrong treasure, he can’t see her value until it is almost too late.

Let us not simply reject the wrong treasure but focus on what matters and what will last.

Father, open my eyes to the real treasures around me. Give me the grace to seek you and your Kingdom above all else and to trust in your provision that follows. Amen.

Devotional #5: Use vs. Value

Not only does Indiana choose the Ark over Marion. He ends up using her as a means to an end, not as a person of infinite worth.

This started back in his youth. He used her for his own pleasure, broke her heart, and the consequence was losing community and support of a father figure in Ravenwood. Years later, in Nepal, with Ravenwood dead, Indiana tries to give her cash for the amulet. He takes her with him only because she has something he wants.

This places them on a journey together, and the story reignites their attraction and love. In Cairo, after a classic chase scene, there is an explosion, and Indiana believes Marion to be dead. We see Indiana despondent over the loss, but he continues with his chase for the Ark.

When Indiana finds she is alive again, she’s been captured by the enemy, Belloq. Indiana has the chance to rescue her from captivity, but he doesn’t. Why? That would endanger his chase of the Ark.

He leaves Marion with the enemy so he can chase the wrong treasure.

There is a core issue with seeking the wrong treasure. We believe a lie. We are eternal beings made in God’s image, designed to seek what eternally matters. Chasing what is temporary as if it will satisfy what is eternal within us – that’s the lie. Lies destroy and kill us.

That lie blinds us to what has eternal value, which is the Devil’s goal (John 10:10). By placing what is temporary in the place of the eternal, we end up treating what is eternal like trash.

To put it another way, we use people to get stuff. Our relationships are based on what others can do for us. Everything becomes transactional instead of relational.

How we treat people is paramount in God’s eyes. The greatest commandments? Love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-40). The world will know the people of God are real because we love like Jesus (John 13:35), not because of how big our ministry becomes. We can say a cuss word (Raca!) and be in danger with the religious, but when we label someone a fool, we deal with God’s judgment (Matthew 5:22).

At every point, no matter their situation or background, Jesus treated people with love and dignity. They were not a means to an end for the Son of God to get ahead in ministry. People had eternal value to him.

Jesus teaches that when going to the Temple to pray or worship, if we know we have an issue with a brother or sister of faith, or them with us, we don’t go to worship until we reconcile with our brother or sister (Matthew 5:23-24).

Relationships are everything.

Let this mind be in you, the Apostle Paul says, the mind of Christ that humbled himself and obeyed God for the good of others (Philippians 2). We are to love without hypocrisy, bear one another’s burdens, honor others above ourselves (Romans 12:10), and build others up with love (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

When instructing on the Communion meal to the church in Corinth, Paul is upset with how they are mistreating people in the midst of a feast to symbolize Christ’s sacrifice. He even suggests that some people are getting sick and dying because of this! (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)

People matter. Life matters. When we seek after the wrong treasure, we don’t value people. We use them.

Valuing people is a treasure that matters, one we can’t lose. No matter how others respond, our love for them brings eternal reward because it matters to God and we’re acting according to Truth. As we interact with others, let us not think of what they can do for us but how we can bless and value them.

Father, forgive me for the times that I’ve chased the wrong treasure and used people in the process. Give me the grace and power to love others as you do, to value others, and to be generous, expecting nothing in return. Amen.

Featured Image Credit: Joe Penniston / Disney – Great Movie Ride – Indiana Jones / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0