|West Baden Springs, Indiana Hotel and Resort grounds|
Yesterday, for example, we studied three verses in Matthew 6:19-21: "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." I have always loved this passage but never really examined the depth of the Lord's meaning. What are our treasures?
In his book, Dr. Jones writes that "treasures" do not necessarily mean just money. Our treasures can consist of other possessions or relationships. The problem comes when they become idols that displace our relationship with God. This can include, a spouse, children, work, video games, a house or any number of material things. Having nice possessions, a good home, and family are wonderful gifts, but are not to be worshipped. It is our attitude towards these things which determines if we are storing up treasures in heaven or on earth. Dr. Jones goes on to write that when we pursue personal piety, the enemy of our souls is looking for a place he can snare us. Often it is our possessions (or lack of them) that can easily and quietly trip us up.
During class, I shared my own personal experience in dealing with this issue. Over twenty years ago, I began writing devotions to encourage my friends who had survived polio as I have. This expanded to include church members, our pastors and friends. My love for God motivated me to do this, but I confess, there have been times when I wondered to my husband if it was helping anyone as I had little feedback. In talking with fellow bloggers and writers, they often experience much the same thing. However, when I get in the "poor me" frame of mind, my husband lovingly reminds me, "Who are you doing this for? God or yourself." He is right. If I am writing for God's glory, I may or may not see the impact of my words in this lifetime. On the other hand, if I am trying to impress people or call attention to myself in some way, then my motive is wrong.
We are called to use our talents, gifts, wealth and time for the glory of God. As we serve others in obedience to God, we will be laying up treasures in heaven. After all, our possessions, family and homes are on loan to us by God's grace. He has made us stewards of all that He owns. The question is how are we using what God has given to us? Are we building our kingdom here on earth so we can become popular, well-known, a celebrity of sorts? Or are we laying up treasures in heaven by scattering the seeds which God has given to us? We may not know the results of our seed sowing until the day we step into His presence, but He calls us to be content to sow.
Dr. Jones concluded this portion of his scripture teaching by reminding us that the world looks very attractive. It is easy to be lured by the song of the mermaids of money, power and success. Yet these very goals are putting our treasures on the things of earth where moth and rust can corrupt and thieves can steal. Therefore, we need to be prepared daily to do battle with this world system that wants so very much for us to fall away from our task of sowing to God's glory. Whether we are a writer, photographer, artist, investor, politician, lawyer, doctor, teacher, pastor, or administrator (to name but a few), we must daily ask ourselves the question my husband posed to me, "Who are you doing it for? Yourself or God?" This question gets at our motives and helps us see where we are laying up our treasures. May we be found faithful to do all for the glory of God for He alone is worthy of our best efforts in serving Him. Selah!