Christianity 201

January 26, 2019

The Treasure in your Eternal Bank Account

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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We’ve often highlighted devotionals from Charles Price, Minister at Large for The Peoples Church in Toronto. Today’s is the first of three articles on the subject of treasure but I encourage you to click this link if you wish to follow these teachings and see what follows. Click the title below to read this one at source, and then links to the following two appear at the end.

Storing up Treasure

Exodus 9-11

Matthew 15:21-39

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”   —Matthew 6:21

Everyone is storing up treasure in some way. For some, this is the range of their assets or size of their bank balance. For others, like the hypocrites who give, pray and fast publicly, it is their reputation before others. Whatever the case, we all have something in our lives that gives us reason to get out of bed in the morning.

What controls the heart is our treasure, which can be either earthly or heavenly.

The challenge is we straddle both spheres. No matter how heavenly our interests may be, we live on earth and are subject to its demands, pressures and values. The reason this is so important is shown in the progression of thought Jesus gives in Matthew 6:19-24. He starts with the heart but then goes on to say, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23). The thrust of this is that our vision, the goals that motivate us in the present, are either good and bring light or bad and bring darkness.

Jesus then moves from vision to master: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money(Matthew 6:24).

The subtlety of treasure is we assume it will serve us, but when our heart is set on something, that thing begins to captivate. In our pursuit of it, what began as our treasure and grew into our vision becomes our master. Instead of it serving us, we serve it.

To ask the questions, “What is your treasure?”; “What is your vision?”; and “What is your master?” is essentially asking the same thing. Our treasure, vision and master are one. It is true God created us free to make choices, but our freedom of choice is limited to one fundamental option—we choose our master. From then on, everything we do, value and hope for are simply the logical expression of the mastering principle of our lives.

Our treasure can be either earthly or heavenly, temporary or permanent, self-centred or God-centred, but it cannot be both. The world tells us that status and success are tied to our riches, but the world has it backwards.

Though we live in the temporal, a mature Christian has the eternal at heart. We either serve God or ourselves, and which we choose determines where we store up our treasures.

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, bring my heart into alignment with Yours so that I prioritize the right kind of treasures. You are my master, and You will never lead me wrong. Thank You, God.


Read more in this series:

When accumulation of wealth is motivated by selfishness rather than service, there is fault. Material things are neutral, but it is when they play too great a role within our value system that they become dangerous and destructive.

Whether we realize it or not, to emphasize earthly treasures is to derive our satisfaction from what we represent before people. Conversely, to lay up treasures in heaven is to derive satisfaction from pleasing God. Both are investments, but we are wise to invest in that which money cannot buy, that death cannot destroy and that holds its currency beyond this life.


“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”  —Matthew 6:20

 

March 7, 2011

Seeing Illness as a Blessing

Yesterday’s and today’s items here don’t have any specific scripture references.  I wrote this three years ago at an obvious low point, and thought it might be applicable to someone reading it today; maybe you are that person.  Readers may want to add a scripture verse in the comments that references one or all of the points here…

  • Illness forces us to slow down, and that forces us to do the things that really matter, and that forces us to decide what really matters
  • Illness forces us to ask God for help on behalf of ourselves, which seems selfish at times, so first we have to apologize for asking
  • Illness causes us to ask other believers to join in prayer for us, which can be rather humbling
  • Illness helps us remember others who are suffering, it helps us to identify and empathize with their situation
  • Illness – while not necessarily caused by sin -brings us to a wonderful season of self examination and determination to aim for greater holiness
  • Illness reminds us of our mortality; our material culture has forced us to cling to everything including life itself, but our lives have an expiry date
  • Illness has a mellowing, sobering effect on us – some things can become potentially more irritating, but some other things no longer matter as much
  • Illness forces us to ask bigger questions; Is God in control? Does He care about the details of my life? Will he intervene in a special way?
  • Illness brings into clarity other times we were ill, and reminds us that God brought us through that time
  • Illness helps us hear Christian songs differently; “I thank God for the mountains, and I thank him for the valleys…” Can I do that right now?

I’m sure there are other things, too. Most of the prayer requests in our churches are for issues people are dealing with in their physical bodies. Pray specifically for one another. If you are the person for whom this was for today, listen for God’s voice in the middle of all you’re going through.