The Gospel is a mystery, hidden for ages and generations, but now revealed to us. The riches of the glory of this mystery, is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Wow; that’s a lot to unpack isn’t it? The Apostle Paul felt the same way: Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1:28-29) Paul goes on to describe in more detail that the objective is for all of us to be knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (2:2-3)
Life is a treasure hunt, for everyone, no exceptions. Those “designer cravings” that we spoke about last post, just do NOT go away. The search button is stuck in the “on” position. The journey of fulfillment truly begins with “Christ in you” and ends with being “mature in Christ”, with the ongoing vital ingredient of being “knit together in love.”
We struggle to stay on this path, one reason being that we live in a culture of “option overload.” Other “treasure” vies for our investments.
Nearing the end of his life, the Apostle John gave a concise summary: Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NASB) One translation defines the “pride of life” as the assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things. (v.16 AMP)
Jesus said 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. (Matthew 6:19-20) Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines the meaning here: “It is so to live from day-to-day as to increase the bitterness or the happiness of one’s consequent lot.” Investment choices are before us, every day.
On the other hand, treasures in heaven are not exclusively stored up for future use alone. The disciples watched Jesus challenge the idol of possessions in the rich young ruler, telling him to sell everything and follow Him, and then reminded Jesus that they had left everything they had. His response: I promise you, nobody leaves home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property for my sake and the Gospel’s without getting back a hundred times over, now in this present life, homes and brothers and sisters, mothers and children and land—though not without persecution—and in the next world eternal life. But many who are first now will then be last, and the last now will then be first. (Mark 10:29-31 J.B. Phillips)
God’s sovereignty is threaded into this passage, and rightly so. A “hundred times over” in all of the items on the above list, is no guarantee of equal proportion across the board. Persecution is also promised, but some will receive more than others. Finally, you and I will never completely figure out ranking nor totally understand God’s choices in leadership assignments.
The merciful warning to the rich young ruler was echoed in a different way in the Book of James: Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. (5:3)
Everyone stores up treasure of some kind. These are a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual. Let’s break it down: money and things, attitudes and character, and spiritual focus. Some of what we store up will propel us forward in the race; some will weigh us down. Some will reap reward in the end; others will reap judgment.
There is not a person alive who does not have a storehouse, a repository of valued commodities. What are your personal investment choices; what are you storing up?
Marriage rich or marriage poor, will depend on your investments.