May 30

“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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Did you see the movie “National Treasure” and its sequel “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”? It’s easy to get caught up in the search for treasure when the actors are skilled and beautiful, the scenery is captivating, and the script is smart, funny, and culturally relevant. The movies bring out that the value of seeking treasure is in its ability to transform a person’s life dramatically. But these movies focus on precisely what Scripture warns us against earthly monetary treasures that are only good in this life here. I appreciate that the second treasure hunt (Book of Secrets) is ostensibly about protecting the reputation of a man rather than the acquisition of a financial reward.

Yesterday the quotation from “Envy of Eve” reminded us that a relationship with God is our greatest treasure. Moths and rust cannot touch this great treasure and thieves cannot steal it. We all know that the money we accumulate will end up in someone else’s hands one day. As good stewards, we should plan for it to be in the hands of those who will make the best use of it. But the possessions we have, the houses we have built, and the clothing we will not need in heaven will all be distributed with our passing. Even so, we have so many things, and there are plenty of products that we’re pressured to buy; it’s hard to remember that they have no eternal value. Many new storage facilities are under construction in and around my hometown. The furniture, artworks, Christmas decorations, and other possessions are kept in temperature-controlled units which will only delay the inevitable decay and rot.

The more we possess, the more chance there is that someone else will want to own our belongings enough to steal them. Large estates are gated because of the high risk of thieves breaking in, compared to modest homes. People with expensive jewelry often store it in a safe. The greater our material possessions, the more steps we have to take to protect them, and the more we fear we will lose them. The more time we spend thinking and planning to prevent decay or robbery, the more our heart values what we are protecting. If this isn’t a formula for idolatry, I don’t know what is.

Do you seek “to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge?” (Colossians 2:2-3) Which of your earthly treasures may be competing with Christ?

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