Laid Up Treasure
“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
Today my boys and I are going to Minneapolis Institute of Art to see the terracotta warrior exhibit there. If you are not familiar with the exhibit, it contains articles from the Chinese Chin dynasty. And, some of the most impressive articles in this exhibit come from the tomb of Emperor Chin, who decided to be buried with many life size terracotta replicas including an entire army (horses and all). These items, the emperor thought in being buried with, would supposedly move on with him into the next life and give him great strength and power as he had experienced during his life here on earth.
In thinking about the lengths at which this ancient emperor took to secure his future in the next life and comparing his tomb filled with earthly treasures to the types of treasures that Jesus asks us to store up instead (see Matthew 6 above), I am left to wonder, “How much treasure do we Christians still try to build up that has nothing to do with heavenly treasure?” This is a question I think I should post on a wall in my house so that I ask it of myself often, therefore catching me and bringing me back to the necessary instead of me wasting my time on my own pursuits which then drag me off into my habitual earthly treasure building rut.
No, I do not have an army of soldiers in my basement, nor do I have a pyramid that I am constructing in my back yard as a perfect conduit to heaven. But just like the rest of you I tend to get off track by doing things that may seek to glorify my accomplishments over those God wants me to do to glorify Him. I may push myself hard to make a project work out as I see it best taking shape instead of trusting in God to supply the shape and scope of the project in His timing. Or, I may not wait in perfect peace allowing my heart for the Lord and my fellowship with Him to be the foremost guide in all that I do, but instead allow the pressures and ways of man around me to direct my heart and path instead.
As I was reading through Hebrews this morning, I was struck by the fact that the Israelites had the closest thing to the perfect treasure of heaven here on earth – the tabernacle in all its splendor. And yet even as the wandered in the desert, and set this perfect copy of the things of heaven in the middle of their camp, they still did not have the ability to keep their eyes and hearts focused on the Lord, above the what they felt and experienced around them.
“Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Hebrews 9:23-28
Yes, Jesus perfected the tabernacle in becoming the ultimate sacrifice to end all sacrifices and He serves and the High Priest now for all who allow their hope for eternal life to rest on the perfection achieved by His perfect blood. But, do we as Christians who have the ability to claim this victory really live in the peace that all is finished here on earth to seal within heaven all we need there and all we need to gain entry? Do our lives and our hearts show that we are set in storing up those things that are not of this world and our hope and focus are on what is coming which is so much better than what we can see here on earth, touch with our own hands, and imagine in our own minds?
My prayer today as my boys and I take our little field trip is that they will see some of the things they have been doing in the wake of the election that have shown their hearts are not set on the hope of eternal life in Jesus, but rather in the treasures that they are seeking here in this world. I know that within their hearts they really do not desire to see things from this perspective, but with all that has happened in the past week they have been bumped hard enough to find themselves back in some old and misguided and rutted mindsets. I am just trusting in God, as He provides the opportunities for conversation to come about today with my sons, that God will again move them back onto the right road of thinking with Him as their eternal hope and Him as the keeper of their greatest treasures.