“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 or rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
In 2010, a New Mexican art collector and author of some worth, Forrest Fenn, allegedly put a nearly $2 million treasure in a ten inch by ten inch bronze box and hid it somewhere in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, or Wyoming – basically, one BIG area: the Rocky Mountains. Some 65,000 treasure hunters have seriously tried to follow the clues Fenn embedded in a poem he authored along with the consequent annual clues he has written about where the treasure is hidden. These searchers have hiked and scoured over countless acres of rugged terrain. Fenn swears to the lucrative contents in the box. This treasure hunt has caused hundreds of articles to be written and television accounts produced. At least two hunters have died searching. One unfortunate hunter’s body was found in 2016, another in June 2017. How much does searching for or finding corruptible treasure mean to you?
There are a number of missing real or mythical treasures of legend in the United States, under the sea, and in far flung places. Hunters still seek them. Most ordinary as well as wealthy people have treasures of which they actually know the location, ranging from a thousand to billions of dollars which they keep variously in cupboards, mattresses, banks, stocks and bonds, jewelry, collectors’ items, real estate, and countless other places. All are, nevertheless, susceptible to accidental destruction, market crashes, bank failures, real estate downturns, or deflation.
Those who currently feel somewhat financially secure are also susceptible themselves to failing health, fatal disease, advancing age, and an increasing, inevitable inability to enjoy their wealth stockpiled for an uncertain future. The evidence is clear: Material treasure does not always ensure a happy future, especially beyond a personal and certain grave date. Some big lottery winners and many others who have come into wealth have found that “easy come, easy go” is not just a mythical saying.
Yet all this assumes the definition of “treasure” always refers to a material substance translatable to money. The question for all of us is this: Is there treasure which can never be diminished or destroyed? You might not take his word for it, but Jesus clearly says there is a treasure which can never be stolen from you or suffer any destructive element. The bank for such treasure is not on this earth; it is in a place located beyond the erosion of the grave, a place you who are still living have not yet seen. So do you grab the treasure you can lay your hands on here, added up on a calculator, grasping it as close to your heart as possible? Or do you take the word of the Lord of this universe and trust what he says about permanent treasure? Do you invest countless hours making and hoarding losable treasure or yearning and searching for the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow? Or do your put your whole-hearted effort into building a permanent treasure which traverses eternity?
Working for this treasure promises oases of pleasure along the way as you see lives rescued, people restored and healed, your money applied to help others survive, to see with your own eyes the glowing smile appear on a once tear stained face. Building this treasure requires your own hands, your own time, and your own heart to be engaged, where normally it must be subtracted from any effort to seek and gain a treasure which ultimately erodes into oblivion.
This is a life-transforming consideration to which you must apply your mind, sooner rather than later, for none of us knows when our time will come. According to Scripture, “Blessed is the man who wisely considers the poor man’s case.” Think wisely before the love of money captures your heart.
“Worldlings prize their gems of beauty, cling to gilded toys of dust, boast of wealth and fame and pleasure; only Jesus will I trust. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! Only Jesus will I trust. All for Jesus! All for Jesus! Only Jesus will I trust.”
(3rd verse of Mary James’ hymn “All for Jesus,” 1871)
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