Friday, March 1, 2013

The Treasure

I want to start this post by asking you some pointed questions. Perhaps you cannot answer these questions immediately and exactly. But perhaps you will ponder them until you can directly answer yourself. Here we go. First, I want you to think about ALL you are involved in today. Think about ALL that you are attempting to accomplish. Think about your current aspirations that take you into your future, and what you want to accomplish with your life.'s the first question: How much of what you do, are involved in, preparing for, and attempting to accomplish will have any significance whatsoever after you leave this life. I'm not saying that anything you are involved in has no significance. I am just asking you to determine that in light of eternity and in your call as a Christ-follower. Next question: How much of what you are doing today will cause treasures to be laid up for you in heaven? Think about your schedule each day: How much of your day is in preparation to meet Jesus? And how much of that will carry over into eternity for you to enjoy forever? And how much of what you do is in living wholly for Jesus?

Jesus uses a parable in Matthew 13:44 that has touched my heart. Let me share it with you. "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." This one-sentence parable is used by Jesus to illustrate the nature of the kingdom of God. Jesus said God's kingdom is like a treasure, hidden in a field. A man somehow found this treasure and became extremely excited about it and hid it again! But there was one problem. He didn't own the field. He was so filled was joy that he sold everything he had and bought the field.

Think about this, the price of the field (not including the treasure) was the price of everything he owned. Why would anyone sell all they had in order to purchase a piece of property? You could live on the property with nothing! No house, no clothes, no food, no nothing! Remember he sold everything! Here is the key. The man saw the infinite value of the treasure, hidden in the field. If this treasure became the man's, he would never lack again. As a matter of fact, the man's children, and his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren, and his great, great, grandchildren, etc., would never lack anything financially or materially!

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like that treasure. To many people it is hidden. Even to followers of Christ. Why? Because of our own acquired or inherited treasures. We look to our earthly treasures, accomplishments, and acquisitions for our peace and security. We are actually blinded to the treasure of the kingdom by the earthly treasures we possess. The result is that many never see the infinite value of God's heavenly kingdom, and its vast supply for those who give up everything in this life...for Him.

In Mark 10: 17 - 23, Jesus illustrates the same truth. A rich, young ruler comes to Jesus and asks Him, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus explains to him that he must keep the commandments of the Law. The young man says that he has from his youth. Listen to what Jesus says. "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." The young rich man left saddened, why? Because he owned much property. Apparently he didn't want to turn it loose. He could not see the infinite value of the heavenly treasure as the man did who purchased the field. By holding tightly to his own treasure, the rich, young ruler forfeited heaven's treasure which was offered to him.

Most of us studied about the California gold rush that took place in the mid 1800's. Many, many folks sold all they had so they could travel to California, purchase a small piece of property, and dig for gold. Many folks struck it rich, and many folks lost everything they had. But to everyone it was worth it! Why? Because they ALL saw the value in discovering the treasure of gold!

If you and I could just see the value of the treasure of God's kingdom! Even as believers in Jesus we would give up all and follow hard after Jesus.

Let me close with something Paul writes that reaches deep into my soul. "More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." (Phil. 3:8)

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