Treasure in Heaven & Peace on Earth

Although I personally believe that Christ was born in September of 3 B.C.—probably September 11th to be exact [1] —I still think it’s great that our culture takes time to celebrate the Lord’s birth in December. I’m thankful for anytime we spend celebrating Christ! Yet, as I’ve gotten older—old enough to take my eyes away from the presents under the tree and look around a bit—I can’t help but notice the rampant materialism and consumer mentality that is in the world today. It is especially noticeable during the holliday season.

I wonder how much of Christmas is really about celebrating the Lord, his birth, and all he stands for, and how much of it is really just about stuff we want. In our society we are constantly bombarded with images of what “we need,” what will “make us happy,” and how some new toy will finally fill that hole in our hearts for good this time. Yet, as many of us have experienced, once Christmas is over and the luster begins to fade, we are back in the same situation where we began—only with more toys.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but America is experiencing another “Gold Rush.” Except this time you don’t have to scuttle off to the Wild West for the gold; just mosey on down to the local department store. Developers, marketers, and scientists have made the discovery this time, not “gold diggers,” and everyone is scrambling ahead to get their piece of the pie. iPods, laptops, flat-screen televisions, etc. There are literally thousands of neat little pieces of gold to lust over that didn’t exist years ago.

In stark contrast, the story of the birth of Christ is the antithesis of such a Gold Rush. Remember the Magi? They were riding West to give their gold away! They laid their treasure at the feet of the king and worshiped him. How backwards is our society? Everyone is rushing to get rich by buying fool’s gold from the world when the Lord is the one whom we should be rushing toward. He’s got the real gold.

Revelation 3:17-19 (ESV) [2]
(17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
(18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
(19) Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Scripture speaks of those who think they’re rich but are not really: “One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth” (Prov. 13:7-ESV). So many people go through this life with their minds set more on acquiring riches than on pondering the path of their feet and storing up for themselves treasure in heaven. Can you imagine the embarrassment of standing before the Lord at the Judgment and being asked what you have to show for your life, and you proudly pull out a bag of fool’s gold? Fools gold! It’s worthless! You wasted all that time mining and investing and all you have to show for it is some worthless fool’s gold. That would not be cool at all. But sadly, that is just what will happen to many people.

The things of this world are only temporary, and God tells us that they are going up in smoke, along with all the so-called “riches” we acquire in this life.

2 Peter 3:10-14 (ESV)
(10) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
(11) Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
(12) waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!
(13) But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
(14) Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

I love that question, “…what sort of people ought you to be…?” If you knew your house was going to burn down next week, would you spend all your time trying to buy as much new, cool stuff as possible and move it in? No way. I’d probably be trying to mentally prepare myself to be as detached from my belongings as possible. Yet to what extent do I live my life with that attitude now? Honestly, not anywhere near enough.

Now, to be sure, being a Christian doesn’t mean you can’t want or have nice things. But God makes it clear that He doesn’t want earthly riches to be our treasure (Matt. 6:19-21). In other words, God doesn’t mind if you have a treasure chest, just make sure it’s your Bible that’s in there. God’s Word is to be the joy and rejoicing of our hearts, and where our treasure is found. The Word of God is “More to be desired…than gold…” (Ps. 19:10-ESV). In it we find true meaning and freedom, and we are loosed from the chains of a materialistic culture that could never truly satisfy our hearts anyway. So let’s get out our Bibles and start gold digging! Looking anywhere else for truth and life is like panning for gold in a kitty litter box. You’re not going to find any because the world has “litter-ally” (pun intended!) nothing of any lasting value to offer. We must look beyond the world and start storing up our treasures in heaven where “…neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20-ESV). This is the only way we will ever have “peace on earth”—especially during the holiday season.

Endnotes

[1] If you are interested in studying this, I recommend the following sources: Versebyverse.org/doctrine/birthofchrist.html Martin, Ernest L. The Star That Astonished the World. Portland: ASK Publications, 1996. Wierwille, Victor P. Jesus Christ Our Promise Seed. New Knoxville: American Christian Press, 1982. Also, see our Free Indeed video, Tape 9, “The Birth of Christ, Part 1-4.”
[2] Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™ © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

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