A Great Treasure
The word “Treasure” brings to mind a mental picture of Pirates, Adventurers, Miners and Explorers. I think the Pirate picture is most vivid in my thoughts, maybe because early in my life I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island. Then there was the film version starring Wallace Beery as the head Pirate. And of course who doesn’t think about Pirates after a trip to a Disney theme park and visiting the ride “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Even today we can watch Johnny Depp in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in a couple of Pirate films. Treasure somehow in this context has a connotation of ill-gotten gains or wealth.
Some of you may have heard of the book, The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn. The simple premise of the book was, “You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead.” This reflected the simple Biblical truth expressed in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus says. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (6:19-21) On the surface it might appear that Pastor Alcorn is instructing us that Heaven is our greatest treasure. And in a sense this could be true. For Peter in his first letter reminds us, “For you are receiving the goal of your faith the salvation of our soul.” (1Peter1:9)
What is the greatest Treasure? If you had the chance to read The Treasure Principle, you learned that the greatest treasure is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And as we progress through the Lenten season we will see Jesus turn his face toward Jerusalem. Intending to go to Jerusalem even though he knows that what faces him there is the hatred and rejection of the Chief Priests, the Scribes and the Pharisees. All of that hatred and rejection will result in the arrest, trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus.
And in proper penitence and contrition we will confess that it was our sin, our failures, our shortcomings that necessitated Jesus’ suffering and death. And rightly we will know that our greatest treasure is Jesus who willing gives up his life for me and for you, and for our neighbor, so that our sins are forgiven and paid in full. Certainly Jesus is our greatest treasure!
Yet, I cannot help but also feel that I am a treasure, you are a treasure, our neighbor is a treasure – Why because God was willing to sacrifice his very own Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross, to buy us back from our sinful ways. God views that we are worth much – every sinner is worth great effort to be bought back and delivered home to heaven. While often in Lent we reflect on the poorness of our faith and depth of debt we owe for our sins. It is a time when we also want to give thanks for the greatness of the treasures that God gives us in His Son Jesus Christ and the promised treasure of heaven. Adding to this we should give thanks that God treasures us enough to send us the Holy Spirit to create faith in us so that we desire the treasures of Jesus and heaven. We are truly rich and have great treasures!
Dear God, deliver all who are in trouble, for You are our God, who sets the captives free; who gives hope to the hopeless, who lifts up the fallen and brings light to those enshrouded in darkness. You Lord, are our greatest treasure and may we will always know this and value You and the gift of Your Son Jesus, since you have provided us the gift of salvation. Lord, we pray that you preserve us, in our pilgrimage throughout this life. For Jesus’ sake. Amen