Summary: REGARDING THE RECENT TURBULENCE IN THE U.S. AND GLOBAL FINANCIAL MARKETS AS A DIVINE WAKE UP CALL, THIS SERMON REMINDS AND ADMONISHES READERS TO ACCEPT THE COUNSEL OF JESUS CHRIST BY INVESTING IN HEAVENLY TREASURES THAT WILL YIELD ETERNAL DIVIDENDS INSTEA
“19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:19-21)
The recent events and turbulence in the United States financial market as well as that of the world should be a wake up call to all Christians (and non Christians alike) as to where we should place our priorities as regards treasures. In this message we shall examine Biblical teachings on treasures. Particular attention will be given to what our Lord Jesus Christ said about attitude to treasures. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will open our eyes of understanding and grant us the grace to make investments that will yield heavenly and eternal dividends.
1. Covenant on Treasures
2. Categories of Treasures
3. Collecting Heavenly Treasures
Covenant on Treasures
Treasures, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, are valuable or precious possessions of any kind. The Bible has a lot to say about treasures. God is the giver of treasures because He owns them. When Joseph’s brother suddenly found the money they paid for buying grains returned into their sacks, and were afraid, Joseph’s steward said unto them “--, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks ---“ (Gen 43:23). The book of James makes it clear that God is in the business of giving good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). The best treasure gift offered by God to anyone who will accept Him is salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16). This treasure of salvation is a covenant the Almighty God has made to any one who will accept its terms. Salvation is the “mother” of all treasures and once received, it can give birth to other treasures depending on our desires, efforts and God’s discretion. This notion is evident in Matthew 6:33 which declares “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Hear what Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Therefore, treasures are part of the covenant God has for us as His people. This is the reason why the Almighty God Himself declares in Isaiah 45:3, “And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel”. My prayer is that every hearer and reader of this message will receive divine treasures from the Almighty God in Jesus name.
As the custodian of all good things, God not only gives people treasures, He wants each person to be a treasure unto Him. He told the Israelites (and is telling us today), “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5). Beloved, God says each one of us can become very valuable to Him as a treasure. Notice the importance of obedience in attaining this status. The Bible says if we are willing and obedient we shall eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19). Treasures are part of the good of the land and they are designed for those who will follow God’s covenant agenda regarding treasures. Listen to what Deut 28: 12 has to say about treasures and obedience “The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow”
Categories of Treasures
There is no one more qualified to give counsel on treasures than Jesus Christ. He knows the in and out of treasures. In His human nature, He started interacting with treasures at his birth. Matthew 2: 11 records that the wise men that visited our Lord Jesus Christ at his birth “opened their treasures (and), they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh”. Furthermore, the Bible says in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.(Col 2: 3). According to Apostle Paul, Jesus Christ was rich (2 Cor. 8:9) and His riches are so much that they are unsearchable (Eph. 3:8).
Jesus Christ identified two categories of treasures based on where they are stored up (geographical location) and eternity status (spiritual value). He then provides appropriate counsel on each. The first category, which we can call “earthly treasures”, are those that are laid up (or stored up) on earth. They are temporal and transitory because they can be lost through destruction by moth or rust, or by theft. Examples include money, houses, cars, clothes, jobs, etc. Is Jesus saying we should not work hard to acquire assets and other properties? Absolutely not. His counsel is that we should not make the acquisition of these earthly treasures our preoccupation to the detriment of loving God with all our heart and living our lives according to the principles in His word. In other word these earthly treasures should not become the object of our worship. Instead they are to be used as means to worship God who created them and avail us of them. If we have the right perspectives about God and render Him due benevolence, He will add these treasures to us according to His divine judgment. This is the point of Jesus Christ in Matthew 6: 33.