Grace For The Journey
Today is the first of a 3-part blog on Treasure Hunters. The adventure film National Treasure has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it in 2004. It is loosely based on the myth of a secret code inscribed on the back of the Declaration of Independence by its signers. The deciphering of this secret code would lead the treasure hunters, led by Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage), to the discovery of a fantastic collection of treasure that had been protected and passed down by the Knights Templar and Freemasons for centuries.
I am convinced that films like National Treasure and the hugely successful “Indiana Jones” series are so popular because they connect the viewer with the “treasure hunter” inside of all of us. If, indeed, we are all treasure hunters, the question that must be asked and answered is:
“What kind of treasure are we spending our lives to discover?”
Jesus cautioned His disciples, “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).
It is important to understand the context in which these words were spoken. In the first eighteen verses of Matthew 6 it’s as if we have been in the sanctuary of the Lord communing with Him who “sees in secret.” Beginning in verse 19, we leave the safety and security of communion with the Lord, and immediately find ourselves combating the temptations and trials of the world.
It is no mistake that the Lord Jesus teaches first about communion and then combat. The amount of time we are willing to spend personally and privately seeking the Lord, surrendering to Him, and satisfying our hearts with Him will determine the amount of victory we enjoy over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We are living today in what is perhaps the most materialistic society that has ever existed. It seems that when we are materially prosperous we are most in danger of spiritual poverty. Today more than ever, Christians need to heed these words of Matthew 6.
In this brief but penetrating passage, Jesus sets forth four powerful truths that relate to treasure hunting.
Today we will confine our focus to the first truth . . .
TRUTH #1: Everyone Is A Treasure Hunter.
Jesus does not leave room for any other option. He assumes treasure hunting as a mark of all humanity. Anything of value is a treasure, and we are all seeking value.
- It may be the value of a certain amount of income.
- Perhaps it is a style of living, or ownership of certain possessions that indicates you have “made it.”
- Maybe it is a position of power and prestige in your company, community, or church.
Generally speaking, when we speak of “treasure” we tend to limit the term to money. But the Lord’s use of the word “treasure” is intended to mean “anything that is of value to man and that is perishable or can be lost in one way or the other” (houses, lands, fame, position, power, clothes, cars, etc.)
When the Lord speaks of laying up treasures for ourselves on earth, He is addressing the sin of excessively pursuing worldly wealth and material possessions. Many today are possessed with an insatiable appetite for “treasures” that drives them to many types of excessive behavior.
While we need to understand clearly what is condemned in this verse, we also need to know what is not condemned. I n the words of verse 19 . . .
- The Lord is not condemning hard work which results in man’s provision for both himself and his family.
- The Lord is not condemning is the possession of goods and riches, provided they are acquired honestly and used rightly.
- The Lord is not condemning saving for the future.
Instead of making the things of this earth a priority and excessively pursuing those things, we would do well to pursue things that are of eternal value. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:18 – “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Instead of trusting confidently in the material things we possess, our trust and confidence is to be in the living God. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The sad thing about all of the excessive, covetous, selfish behavior is that it comes as the result of pursuing things that will never completely satisfy in the first place. All of our earthly possessions are things that possess a certain element of decay. They will all eventually perish. The only things that will last will be the spiritual possession we gain through pursuing God and His eternal life..
In his book, A Quest For More, Paul Tripp writes, “If I watched the video of your last year, what treasure would I conclude you’re after?”
What is your answer to this penetrating question?
What is the testimony of your treasure hunting life?
Take some time to prayerfully consider both your personal and professional life regarding what you are seeking and pursuing. Check back tomorrow for our second truth . . .
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”