Treasure!

People are fascinated with treasure.

People are fascinated with treasure.  We dive on ancient shipwrecks in hope of finding treasure.  We put on headphones and dance with a metal detector trying to find treasure.  We obtain old maps hoping to figure out where the treasure was buried.  It’s like an Easter egg hunt on steroids.  I’m wondering, have we ever considered the treasure found in the Word of God?  Yes, it’s buried, but it’s not hard to find.  Even a child can partake of it.  Let’s discover what the Word of God says about its treasure.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7, For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

The first and best treasure is salvation. God, in His mercy, shines the light of His presence into our hearts and minds that we might partake of the treasure of eternal life.  The light of God shines on the face of Jesus!  He is the treasure!  He is the way, the truth and the life.  He is the Redeemer, the Savior!  In Him, we know the glory of God. 

God takes the treasure of His Son and places it in earthen vessels. Not in a beautiful treasure chest, not in a glorious Chinese vase.  He places His treasure in plain old ordinary people like you and me.  In so doing, the power of God and wisdom of God is on display because God is saving, using, and mobilizing regular people for His glory.  If you step back and look at what God has done in the world through the redeemed, it’s remarkable!  God takes the plain, the ordinary and hides His treasure deep within that the extraordinary things done through the lives of ordinary people might be understood to be only by the power of God through the person of Christ.

The Word of God also warns us about false treasure.  Not every things that glitters is gold.  When I was a child, we use to wander up on “Spud Hill” behind my grandmother’s house.  There we often discovered mica that sparkled like gold but was worthless. We liked to pretend we had discovered hidden treasure. 

Matthew 6:19-20, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Earthly treasure is fleeting. It may be stolen or decay.  Fame and fortune are fleeting.  In light of eternity, earthly treasure is but a moment in time.  That is why it is so important that our worldview is beyond this world. 

The verses in Matthew are a warning about false values.  Earthy treasure gives the things of this world too much importance in life. The downfall begins with coveting, which lead to greed or lust and ends in a love affair with stuff or fame.  When we love “stuff,” we cease to love God.  As Christians we must constantly police our hearts and examine what we love. 

God also speaks to us of true treasure.  Matthew 12:35, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

It’s what’s inside that counts.  True treasure is to value the things of God above all else.  To value God, to value His name, to value His Word and to keep his statutes is true treasure.  To surrender to the Spirit, to pray earnestly, to love well, this is true treasure.  With this treasure comes joy. If you look at people who have earthly treasure, are they really joyful?  I read a statistic years ago that 80% of all lottery winners’ marriages ended in divorce. If earthly treasure was so satisfying, the number should have been well below the 50% national average, not abovt it.  Earthly treasure does not truly satisfy; true treasure does.

True treasure produces righteousness in the person who possesses it. Righteousness is simply “right living.”  Godly living comes from God loving. 

We want to mine out that good treasure that bears eternal value and reject the “fool’s gold” that has no real lasting value. 

How do we know that we are really mining the real gold and not the false?  Jesus gives us a test to evaluate our treasure. 

Matthew 19:21, Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

As you examine this interaction of Jesus and the rich young ruler, it seems Jesus is testing his values. The young man felt he had given all and done all until Jesus asked him to literally give all he had, then he had second thoughts. The test is really “what do you love more than Me?” Are you willing to give it all up to be a follower of Jesus? It’s easy to say “absolutely” until Jesus asks us for something specific like sports, or hobbies, or a job. Why would He ask us to give up such wholesome things? Because they are getting in the way of our truly following Jesus with a whole heart. The point of your salvation is not your happiness; it’s your holiness. The point of it all is the glory of God. So the test is, are you willing? Some are; many are not.

One day, we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). On that day, our treasure will be judged. 

1 Corinthians 3:11-15, For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

From this passage, we understand that Christ is the foundation of our lives and that He ultimately is the treasure!  From the foundation, we build either with worthless materials or precious materials. What makes the difference? The heart. This building is our life, and we are putting it up brick by brick. Our building is our life events or works that are established on the Rock the Lord Jesus Christ. What kind of works are they? Will they stand the test of time? Are they works that are eternal or just superficial that will be lost in judgment?  The works that last are the works that Jesus does through us! It’s not about what we do for Him. It’s all about what He desires to do through us. So the lasting works are those moments in time when we surrender our lives to Christ and He works though us by the person of His Holy Spirit. 

So dear Christian, where is your treasure?  We live in a culture that is crazy about stuff and fluff. We, as followers of Jesus, have a higher calling.  It’s not about the stuff; it’s about treasure in heaven.  It’s about things that will last for eternity. Wherever our heart is, that is what we truly treasure, either the thing of the culture or the things of God.