I’m a certified word nerd. I dig into word origins and wrangle their meanings. Geeky? Yup. But treasures hide inside words.
Take the word “treasure.” That New Testament Greek word is our English word “thesaurus.” In other words, a storehouse of synonyms!
In Disney’s movie Jungle Cruise (release date July 24), the treasure Emily Blunt pursues is “a tree that heals all.” Emily’s recalcitrant guide/skipper (Dwayne Johnson) tired long ago of looking for that altruistic treasure. Now his treasure is money.
By definition, “treasure” is a storehouse of something precious to you. A stockpile of valuables.
But what is treasure, really?
True treasure is extended to us—not earned by us.
- The Israelites exited Egypt with a haul of Egypt’s treasures through no effort of their own.
- When Abraham rescued Lot and routed a combined army from the east, the king of Sodom offered Abraham the spoils of war. Abraham declined. He relied only on God for his success and provision.
- Job learned his true treasure was a deeper, more personal relationship with God. (Job ended up with more than he had to start with—but God’s grace, not Job’s effort, supplied it.)
- The treasure of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:7) and our salvation came through Christ’s sacrifice, not our works.
True treasure must be mined.
We are called to do more than read God’s Word. We are to mine it. Wrestle it, write it, learn it, teach it, share it, display it—and, most importantly, inscribe it on our hearts (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). When we store God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11), we can walk it out in our lives (James 1:22). And those efforts will give us uncommon wisdom. Proverbs 2:1-5 says if we search for truth in God’s Word like someone seeks hidden treasure, and if we stockpile His Word in our heart, we’ll find the knowledge of God. Wow!
True treasure truly lasts.
When 9/11 hit, fourteen years of invested savings for our son’s college fund evaporated in a day. While saving money is prudent, trusting God more than our efforts is imperative. Fortunes change, but the treasures in God’s Word endure forever (1 Peter 1:25).
True treasure is shared, not stockpiled.
We all have stockpiles to share. Because of COVID-19, The world is discovering creative ways to share its time, talent, and treasure. Instead of hoarding and hiding, now is the time to be giving. Thank goodness we don’t need to be people of means—or even able-bodied—to share the Good News. “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, ESV).
The Bible commands us to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). It also commands us to share the same (Mark 16:15). What good is the Good News if no one hears it?
We can’t stockpile time, but many of us have more of it on our hands than usual right now. I groan when someone tweets how bored they are with having time on their hands because of shelter-in-place restrictions. Encouragement costs nothing but time.
Finally, we need to use some of that treasure on ourselves. God’s Word gives us so much to be thankful for. Gratitude and anxiety can’t share the same space in our heart. In other words, gratitude is a cure for anxiety. That’s how Paul could write “Be anxious for nothing …” (Philippians 4:6) from a prison cell near the end of his life.
What we cheer for in treasure-hunt movies hints at the God-designed vacuum in our heart for what we should truly desire. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:24, ESV). His sentence order is intentional. Our heart’s desire will follow whatever we value as our greatest treasure. Let’s sink that desire into the greatest treasure of all.