Back to the sermon on the mount. Jesus has already been teaching about seeking security outside the kingdom of God in terms of prayers, fasting, and doing our good works. We should be after the audience of one, not doing these things to be seen or noticed by those around us. Our security does not come from our reputation or the opinions of others.
Jesus continues his teaching about seeking our security outside of his kingdom as he gets to our treasures. Treasures are anything we try to keep because of a value we place upon them. They may have no inherent value in itself; your wife or husband or neighbor may not see it as a treasure at all. Yet we go to great trouble to protect certain things. We treasure them.
We may treasure certain things which are not material goods. We might treasure our reputation or the opinion of others. We might treasure our job, our career. Or a relationship, or a person, our school, our company. But the first, most important commandment we have is the first commandment, “”You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3 ESV. This, of course is related to Jesus’ great commandment – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:30 ESV. We are to treasure God above all else. Our wisdom, safety, protection and fulfillment lies in treasuring God this way. It is only when we treasure God in this way that we will also treasure our neighbors, those around us, rightly, as God treasures them. It is only after we treasure God above all that we can fulfill the second half of Jesus’ commandment – “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”” Mark 12:31 ESV.
We all have treasures. It is part of what it means to be human. Nothing tears down or degrades another human being more than to diminish, destroy, or deprive them of their treasures. For the most part, no one even has a right or expectation to know what your treasures are. A big part of intimacy between two people is a knowledge of each other’s treasures. Treasures are very closely connected with our spirit and our will, even our dignity as a human being. Treasures are a part of our soul, and to have our treasures disrespected or destroyed does damage to our soul.
Remember the movie “Castaway”? Tom Hanks character had his treasure on that island, a treasure that seemed silly to viewers, a volleyball which had a face painted from his own blood which he called “Wilson”, because that’s the brand written on the ball. Hanks’ character went to great lengths, risking personal harm and possibly even his own life at times to protect his treasure. And when he lost that treasure, he mourned it like he had lost his best friend. Because he had. He had lost a part of his soul, a part of what it meant for him to be human on that faraway lost island.
I think I’ll stop there today, more to be said on Jesus discussion of treasures tomorrow.
“”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 ESV