When the phone rang Sunday morning, Missy answered it.
“My father’s taking us to the water slide,” Karen said. “Can you come?” Missy looked down at her good dress and shiny black shoes and sighed. “I’ll ask,” she said, “but I know my parents won’t let me go on Sunday.” Missy loved the water slide more than any other place on earth.
As she feared, Dad said no.
“It isn’t fair,” Missy told him. “There are too many rules. I’m always so busy following rules that I never get to have any fun.”
When she came home from school the next day, Missy found a mysterious envelope on her bed. Inside was a note in her mother’s handwriting:
There is a wonderful treasure to be found if you can follow the clues that lead to it. It comes from far away, from someone who loves you. You will find the next clue somewhere in your room. Happy treasure hunting!
Missy glanced around. Everything looked the same as she had left it that morning. The second clue must be hidden. She felt a tingle of excitement as she began searching for it.
She started with her desk, wondering what in the world the treasure could be. Maybe it’s money, she thought as she rifled through drawers. Or a new bike, she hoped, looking under the blotter. But after a thorough check, she found nothing.
She looked in her dresser, on her bulletin board, and under her bed. When all those places turned out to be clue-free, she plopped herself onto her bed in frustration. She was about to ask for help when she felt something hard under her pillow.
She pulled out a small silver box. Inside was another note:
“Congratulations on finding the second clue. Keep it in this box along with the other clues. In a room that’s dark and deep, the next clue lies buried.”
“This one’s easy,” Missy said aloud. “The deepest, darkest room in the house is the basement, and it’s the only one with a dirt floor.”
As she went down the basement stairs, she saw Dad’s shovel against one wall. She could tell that the dirt beneath it had been recently disturbed. She dug down a few inches and hit an old tin can with a plastic lid. Inside was the third clue.
This game is starting to be a lot of fun, Missy thought as she pulled a note out of the can. This one said:
“You’ve found number three; you’re halfway to the treasure! Number four waits where flowers bloom.”
Missy put the third clue into her silver box and ran outside. The next clue must be in the garden, she told herself. And she was right. She found an old leather wallet lying between a rosebush and some tulips. The note inside read:
“Well done! You’ve found all but the last clue. Look where dinner is cooked.”
Missy hurried to the kitchen and went to the stove. She couldn’t see anything on the top, so she opened the oven door. There it was—a small brown box with the fifth clue inside. Missy read the note aloud.
“Congratulations! You have discovered the fifth and final clue. The treasure is above your room, moving to and fro.”
Hmmm. This one’s a little strange, Missy thought, adding the last clue to the silver box. But I know that the only room above mine is the attic! She took the attic stairs two steps at a time but was stopped at the door by a strange creaking sound. It frightened her a little, but she wasn’t about to quit, so close to the prize. She opened the door and stepped into the attic.
In the middle of the floor was Grandpa’s old rocking chair, moving back and forth. And on the seat was an envelope. Missy opened the envelope and gasped in surprise. Inside was an airplane ticket to Florida and a letter from Grandma. Missy quickly read the letter and began to jump up and down. Grandma had invited her to come for a visit.
Just then, her parents stepped out of the shadows at the back of the attic.
“Oh, Mom, Daddy!” she exclaimed happily. “Grandma wants me to visit her.”
“We know,” Dad said. “That’s wonderful, and we’re sure you’ll have a great time. But sit down now, and let’s have a talk.”
“Did you like our little game?” Mom asked.
“Oh yes, it was fun!”
“We’re glad you enjoyed it,” Dad said. “But we also hope it will help explain why we have rules to follow.”
Missy looked puzzled. “What are you talking about?”
“Look at your ticket, dear,” Mom said. “Is there a date?”
Missy examined the ticket. “It’s for this Friday.”
Dad took the ticket and hid it behind his back. “What if we’d just said, ‘There’s a treasure in the house. Find it and you can have it.’?”
“I’d have searched until I found it.”
“Of course,” Dad said. “But would you have found it by Friday?”
“Oh.” Missy’s face grew serious as she thought it over. “You and Mom would have helped me find it on time,” she finally said.
“Why?” Dad asked.
“Because you’re my parents, and you love me.”
“Right again,” Mom said. “That’s why we gave you the clues. But it was up to you to follow them.”
“Your Father in Heaven is your parent, too,” Dad said, “and He loves you very much. He has also sent you on a treasure hunt. The treasure is to become like Him and to live with Him again.”
“And He has also given you clues to follow,” Mom added. “They are clearer than our clues were, and they are much more important—but not always so easy to obey.”
Missy smiled. “I think I understand—Heavenly Father’s clues are the commandments, and if I want the treasure, I have to follow them.”
Missy thought about the treasure hunt as she sat next to Mom in the airplane on her way to Florida. She knew she wouldn’t have wanted to miss this treasure. She didn’t want to miss Heavenly Father’s treasure, either.