Treasure Hunt

You responded to a Help Wanted ad and now are sitting in an office with an employer looking across the desk at you.

While interviewing for the job, this perspective employer looks at your resume, questions you regarding your credentials, remarks he has spoken to your references, and explains what the job responsibilities will be.  He takes you for a short tour of the work environment and explains the operation.  As you return to his office, he informs you he has a favorable impression of you.  So far, you like what you are hearing.  Then he offers you the job.

Yet there is one problem.  Puzzled, you raise a question.  “I’m sorry, but we have not discussed salary.  May I ask what the wages will be?”

He responds, “Oh, we do not reveal the salary to our employees.  But I can tell you that you will not get them until retirement.”

Would you take the job?

Sadly, the believer can go through life in this way.  He carries on, knowing there is promised reward awaiting him in heaven.  Yet like the proverbial dangling carrot, he can tire of pursuing it as it seems unreachable, too distant in the future to impact daily living.  He does not know how it is measured nor does he  know what this treasure truly is.  Lacking a proper evaluation of heavenly treasure in his spiritual economy, he can function like a crooked Enron accountant as he inflates the profits of worldliness while shifting about its liabilities.

When the rich young ruler came up to the Lord seeking eternal life, he was ultimately told he needed to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow Christ.  Because of his love for his earthly treasures, we know that in sadness the ruler turned away from Christ.  Yet clearly the man had not heard what was being offered or, if he did, he did not perceive the value of it.  For I left something out in this retelling of the story.  Read carefully Mark 10:21.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Jesus, with love in His heart for this man, was not asking him to give up earthly treasure for nothing in return, or calling him to forsake earthly pleasures only and singularly for the hard task of following Christ.  He was being offered an incredible trade – the paltry, non-lasting, man treasures of this world for invaluable, eternal, God-wrought ones in heaven.

Yet what is this heavenly treasure?

Recently I asked a couple of young men, who are striving for godliness but admit they struggle with worldliness, this question.  When an answer was not quickly forthcoming, I told them to take this next week and do what all treasure hunters must do.  Dig!  For if there is a treasure being offered by Christ, you should dig until you discover what it is.  Only, as I told them, when you realize its worth, will you give up everything to possess it like that pearl in His parable.

So how about I ask you this same question.  What is the treasure in heaven Jesus promises?  How should it impact our job performance as servants of the King?  Please answer in the comment section below.  I’ll discuss your answers with these young men next week, for I doubt they will read this.  🙂  If need be, I’ll give my own answer next week.

One more thing.  Remember what else Jesus said about treasure that highlights the ultimate importance of answering this question.  When you discover what you treasure, you will always find something else there as well.  Your heart.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Matthew 6:19-21

7 Comments

  1. timbloedow April 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    And sometimes preachers preach in such a way that the time between salvation and death is barely in view because of a desire to emphasize without obscurity ultimate issues. Rev. Ken Smith just put out his latest Man-to-Man commentary, and he made a similar point by observing that some pastors have stopped – maybe they never started – discipling converts.

    When I first became reformed from Pentecostal circles, I thought that Reformed circles would be the last place I would find this approach, but alas that’s not true. We need more discipling pastors (and I’m not sure how one does that if you believe preaching and preaching prep. should consume the large proportion of the pastor’s time which seems to be a model that some follow.

  2. Jared Olivetti April 12, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    My first treasure is God himself (Jer. 31:33), fully and eternally. As John Piper has taught us, “God is the gospel.”

    Knowing as I am known will bring me so many more treasures: joy and peace beyond description, freedom from indwelling sin, freedom from tears, an eternity of heartfelt and purposeful service to the light of heaven…

  3. James Faris April 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Christ is the one in whom are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). He is my greatest treasure, and as I seek him other treasures fall out all over the place in life. Hebrews 11:26 says that Moses considered the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. Even the worst we experience in Christ is better than best the world has to offer. So, the Psalmist says delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psa 37:4). Though, he may accomplishing it by changing our desires.

    Barry, you asked for comments on what is the treasure. Striking, isn’t it, that the post on taxes is currently getting comments left and right, but not this one. People often will not be aroused to comment until they feel it in the pocketbook. I’m not sure if it is a function of how blogs work or if it says something about where our hearts and treasures are.

  4. Liz Noell April 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    …so thankful for your replies, Jared Olivetti and James Faris. These alone are ample incentives to fight the good fight against sin.

  5. Joel Hart April 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    The prospect of knowing Jesus was enough of a treasure for Paul to give up his entire identity (Phil. 3:1-11). My heavenly treasure is knowing Christ – I hope to know the “power of his resurrection” even, yes, the “fellowship of sharing in his sufferings”.

  6. Rebekah Brown April 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    When I love, trust and obey God, he gives me a present glimpse of the future treasure. By the power of the Spirit I enjoy love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodnes, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Because of my sinfulness, I experience these things in small measure compared to the treasure awaiting me in heaven, but the taste is enough to make me long for the day I will be made complete.

  7. bubaflub September 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    I’m a bit late to the game, but I agree with the other comments – God Himself is the greatest treasure that we will ever receive. The Holy Spirit who lives in us through the work of regeneration, Christ “who is our life”, and the promise in 2 Peter that we will become “partakers of the divine nature” all point in this direction. I also believe that 2 Cor. 3 and 1 John 3 talk about how we will be transformed when we see Him and will be ever becoming like He is. I think that this is the only hope – the hope of glory – that can sustain us as strangers and aliens in this land.

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