The search for treasure is as ingrained in the human spirit as breathing is the body. A survey of literature and poetry, movies and music reveal our fascination with finding hidden treasure. Who hasn’t pondered what they might do if they won the lottery … or the sweepstakes? When we read stories about those who have come into large sums of money and experienced total life failure and meltdown, we assume that we would not do that. Some people desire treasure so much that they simply take it from others, and even sometimes serve time in prison for it.
A rich young man had his treasure in hand, but still sought something else. Jesus told him how to attain that for which his heart yearned. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. The young man decided to hang on to the treasure in hand, instead of exchanging it for the unseen treasure yet to come. If he had really realized to whom he was talking, perhaps he would have followed the instructions of Jesus. Worth far more than any money in his bank account, the rich young man was standing face to face with the greatest treasure he could ever encounter. Jesus is the treasure.
Don’t judge the young man too harshly. After all, when deciding how to spend our own plunder we hesitate when it comes time to write the contribution check for church. We think long and hard about sending money to our favorite charity. That is money we do not spend according to our own wisdom (other than selecting the benefactor). Substitute most of humanity and even most Christians in the place of the rich young man and the story remains the same.
Jesus is so valuable, so rich in mercy and grace, so profoundly worthy of our worship. Yet, He often is like the dusty old lamp brought to an appraiser … thought by the owner to be of little value … but appraised for thousands by an expert. I wonder if Jesus is dust-covered and sitting in a corner of the attic of our heart while we remain enamored by the glitzy plastic toys of our time?
Christian, the treasure you seek in this world is elusive. The Christ-treasure that will fill your heart is within. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us…We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Corinthians 4). The death of Jesus doesn’t seem like such a treasure, more a tragedy. But that is because we are still looking at Him with our human eyes. When we realize that we do not have the power to understand what a true treasure is, then we can trust God to tell us. Why are you seeking treasures in your life, when you are carrying around this treasure – a power from God – a tale of death, burial, and resurrection that has become amazingly true.
Yes, Christ is our treasure … in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2). We pore over millions of books and allow our Bibles to remain laid in state on our coffee tables. What inkling of truth can you discover in the books of men that didn’t come ultimately from God’s book? And more so from Christ himself? These treasures of wisdom are not hidden from us, they are hidden for us. But as long as Christ is regarded as somewhat less than a treasure, why should we look there?
Richness is found in Christ, and in allowing His life to become ours. A prayer phrase jumped out at me last night. I’ve prayed it many times myself. “Lord, be with us” and “Lord, walk with us”. I’m still thinking that God is waiting for me to ask Him to do what He has already promised He would do! I should be praying, “Lord, help me be with you” and “Lord, I will walk with you.” When Christ is my treasure, then nothing holds more attraction to me than His living through me. When Christ is my treasure then I will be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6). Why shouldn’t I be generous and share? Can we ever plunder the riches of Christ to such a point that He is emptied? For all who regard Him as the true treasure of life and share that with others, Apostle Paul says that they will lay up treasure … as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Life that is truly life. If I won the sweepstakes and could buy anything I wanted, I would not have true life without Christ. If I won the sweepstakes and regarded Christ as my true treasure, then I would have gained something less valuable than that which I already enjoyed. My heart would race, I would jump up and down in excitement. And I would know, then, that my heart had a long way to go before I understood that the life that is truly life is not found in a check of any size, but in Christ alone.
So, if you could choose Christ as your treasure – or a stockpile of money – which would you choose? We know the right answer. I’m asking you to look into your heart and come up with the true answer. Moses made a choice like that. Moses chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible (Hebrews 11). I wonder how many of us are choosing to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time – at least that is our intention. We hope to get serious about Christ later in life. We’ll give up our idols tomorrow. A better day is coming.
The treasures of Egypt /America are calling to us. But let’s look ahead to the reward. Do we know that Christ is our treasure? Or shall we walk away from him sadly, but planning on how to increase our earthly stock? If Christ is my treasure, then I’m free to stop looking for a mass fortune, and start the ‘with God’ life I’m called to live.
Dear Lord, please reveal to me more every day the unsearchable wisdom and treasure of Christ. Help me to walk with you.
Thanks for reading,