Monday, February 11, 2013
Today’s Topic: What Excites You?
Today’s Text: Psalm 119:162 (ESV) I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
When I was a 10 years old my family moved from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to the lower peninsula town of Oscoda. We lived in a church parsonage right next to the church just north of town. Across the highway was Lake Huron, and behind the house were woods with a small creek running through them. Next door to the north was another church, and in its back yard were small sand dunes left from an era when Lake Huron was much larger.
I will never forget the treasure hunting I would do in those sand dunes and along the edges of the woods. The reason was because I would find old arrowheads that had been carved out of stone. I wish I still had some of them, but they were all lost somewhere in subsequent moves.
How fascinated I was with imagining how they had been made, by whom they had been made, and how they had been used. Every arrowhead held a different story for me. I never grew tired of looking for another one, and I would be overwhelmed with joy whenever I would find one. Not only was it a treasure to find, but it held unending possibilities for my imagination.
I still find treasure today, and I still rejoice in it. Last month’s IRA report had treasure in it. I anticipate this year’s income tax return to have treasure in it. Sports heroes that get awards cause us to shoot off an immediate text and post to Facebook with varying levels of enthusiasm. And if our team just so happens to be playing in a big game, we jump and leap and shout for joy with every play that benefits us. We even start to cheer at harm that is caused to the opponent.
But I am discovering that the rejoicing I do over earthly treasure generally exceeds the rejoicing I do over spiritual treasure. Why is that? Why is it that we can jump and shout in a crowd of people watching a concert or sporting event, but we hold back from any visible display of emotion when worshipping Almighty God? When will the discovery of truth be to us as great a treasure as the discovery of material wealth?
Here’s one suggestion for us today. Count the number of text messages, Facebook posts, Tweets, emails, and phone calls you made yesterday. Now, count the number of all those that related to spiritual things. What does it reveal about where your treasure is? Did not Jesus say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”? (Matthew 6:21)
I believe it’s time for a heart check. So here are some helpful verses to get us started on re-evaluating our priorities and treasures. Please take the time to read them carefully, prayerfully, and humbly. Ask the Lord to reveal any inconsistency in our heart so that He alone is our treasure and the reason for our rejoicing. Are you ready to discover some treasure?
Proverbs 2:1-10 (ESV)
1 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; 10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Proverbs 7:1 (ESV)
1 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;
Proverbs 15:16 (ESV)
16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.
Matthew 13:44 (ESV)
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Luke 12:19-21 (ESV)
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:33 (ESV)
33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luke 18:22 (ESV)
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
1 Timothy 6:18-19 (ESV)
18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
And this final word of warning for us all from the brother of Jesus –
James 5:1-5 (ESV) 1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 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. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
What a test this is – can we now rejoice at God’s Word like one who has found a treasure, or will we turn away from this challenge and return to the comforts of our own making?