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Summary: Trust in God, not riches.

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Treasure Hunt

Matthew 6:19-24

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. [20] "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; [21] for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. [22] "The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. [23] "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [24] "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

What are the things you treasure the most?

Some of my things are treasures because of their sentimental value. A bible that belonged to my Sister, that Mother gave me after her death. My paternal grandfather's hatchet that he gave me the last time I saw him alive, or my maternal grandfather's fishing pole that his family gave me after he died.

I treasure other things because of their beauty. I can sit at our campsite in Colorado for hours at a time staring at the world from 11,000 feet. The only thing that rivals that view is the breathtaking vistas of the forest and ocean I enjoy regularly while driving along the Pacific Coast on Hwy 1. We don't have many works of art in our home, but we do have a hand-carved oriental document box with inlaid mother of pearl. It is a beautiful treasure.

What do you treasure the most?

Now that's a different question, isn't it? I didn't ask, "What are the THINGS you treasure the most?" I asked, "What do you treasure the most?" A gentle touch.

The sounds of children playing. The smell of fresh bread baking. Friendship.

We all know that things are not what is most important in life, yet most of us struggle with keeping our priorities straight. Why is that? Why do things compete for our affections?

Saul lost his kingdom over things. God told Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, but Saul decided to keep the spoils of war for himself. Saul justified his actions by saying he was going to sacrifice these things to the Lord. Listen to the prophet's response in 1 Samuel 15:22-23 " And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. [23] For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.'"

Saul lost everything because of things. Why? Really, what difference did a few extra things make? Why was God so angry with Saul? What's wrong with a man bettering himself?

There was a time when I had an ambition to write a Western. I figured, hey, Louis Lamour is dead, somebody has got to take his place, it just as well be me. But somewhere along the way I got distracted writing for church leaders and never got around to writing the Western.

If I ever get around to writing that book, it would center around the Western migration of people looking for better times on the other side of the danger-filled wagon trails. These were gutsy people. They cashed out their holdings back East and hit the trails looking for a better life. With a limited amount of space on the wagons, families had to choose what to take with them and what to leave behind.

If you had to choose, what would you load in your wagon? Certainly, you'd have to make room for food and the tools of your trade, but what about the extra space, what would you put in it? An heirloom, perhaps? Would you choose functionality over beauty? Or would you choose things for their sentimental value?

Deep into the journey, many pioneers discovered they really didn't need what they thought they couldn't do without. When push came to shove, more than one traveler threw heavy furniture, expensive heirlooms and things with sentimental value on the trail to lighten the load. They discovered that their "things" were putting their destiny in jeopardy.

Do you have any things that you would be willing to lose your life over? I know that some of you would certainly die for a principle you hold dear, for your country or for your loved ones, but would you be willing do die for "things?"

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