True Treasure

Clements 20160605 Treasure.jpg

The first book I ever read, was “Treasure Island,” by Robert Louis Stevenson. As a twelve-year-old, I was captivated by the swashbuckling pirates, sailing ships and deep mysteries, depicted in this book. The adventures of young Jim Hawkins as he, with treasure map in hand, sailed the sea in search of a buried pirate’s chest, captivated my imagination and longing for excitement.

There is something fascinating about pursuing hidden treasure. The idea of searching for gold, silver, and precious jewels, hidden somewhere, has been the theme of multiplied books, theater, and movies, even until this day. Many are intrigued by the idea of finding something hidden, that will make them rich, in an instant.

In fact, some people spend a lifetime searching for treasure. For many, riches, security, satisfaction, popularity and attaining the good life always reside just out of reach. When the multi-millionaire, John Rockefeller was asked, “How much wealth is enough?” He smiled and said, “Just a little more.”

Even a lifetime of seeming success, striving and accumulating stuff under one mortgage will not satisfy when the end arrives. This is true because there is more to life than possessions. There is more to living than obtaining things. It is not that treasure is unimportant—it is. What matters is the life you live while you travel here and the destination at which you aim. So, what makes the difference?

The location of your wealth is what matters most. Jesus had a lot to say about wealth, riches and treasure. It may surprise you to know that Jesus spoke more about money than He did about heaven. The key to accumulating treasure and wealth that pleases God is the location of it. The Lord said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). Treasures here are precarious and perishable—treasures there are precious and permanent.

Then Jesus told us why this is so important: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (verse 21). Jesus knows our nature: If your treasure is on earth, your heart will be here; but if your treasure is in Heaven, your heart will be there. Your treasure is what you value most. And the Lord desires our hearts and riches to be heavenly and fruitful, not earthly and barren.

In the story of the rich farmer, Jesus warned the worldly wealthy that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). The thrust of the parable reveals the foolishness of any man who, “stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (verse 21).

So—How can you lay up treasure in Heaven? How can a person be rich toward God? The Bible points out at least four ways.

ONE: Live in fear of the Lord. Live a life of reverence, respect and godly fear. “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it” (Proverbs 15:16). You are better off to reverence God in poverty, than to possess great earthly treasure and not to fear Him.

TWO: Give to the needs of others as you follow Jesus. One day a young man came to Jesus, desiring to be a disciple. Mark records that Jesus loved this rich young ruler and said, “Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me” (Mark 10:21). That man foolishly refused the Lord’s request. But from the Lord’s words we learn that treasure is deposited in Heaven when we give without hope of gain, take up the cross and sincerely follow Christ.

THREE: Tithe and give to the Lord’s work down here. Giving of our income to our church, missionaries and others in God’s work, is like investing treasure. Paul wrote, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Giving is returning to God a portion of what He allows us to receive. When we give, God gives, for Paul continues: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (verse 8).

FOUR: Sacrificially live for Christ. Willingly give up things for the cause of Christ, and you will be rewarded in Heaven. Moses is a great example: “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Hebrews 11:24-27). His choice to sacrifice comfort to follow the Lord meant Moses will be rewarded in Heaven. And so will you!

The Bible is clear; when the child of God lives in these ways he or she will lay up treasure in Heaven, and be rich toward God.

SO: Where is your treasure? Are you rich toward God or toward men? Why not begin daily deposits in the Bank of Heaven? God pays great interest and His rewards last forever!

Author: Larry E. Clements

Follower of Christ, fortunate to be husband to Pat, father of 5, grandfather of 12, writer, associate pastor of Pauline Baptist Church

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