“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 (NIV)
Have you ever thought about treasure? When I conjure up visions of “treasure” I see pirate chests full of gold and jewels hidden in some dark cave surrounded by a watery moat. Human nature tends to visualize tangible things when we think of treasure. Our treasures are “health, wealth, and happiness” on this earth. We equate earthly prosperity with personal treasures.
But Mary had it right. She treasured time and events rather than physical things, and the things she treasured all had to do with the glory of God. She treasured the birth of God’s son through herself (Luke 2:19). She also treasured the amazing revelation that Jesus was teaching in the synagogue when he was still just a boy (Luke 2:51). We should treasure all the wonderful things that God reveals to us and ponder them in our hearts like Mary did.
Jesus says in Luke “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (12:34). The Lord will bless us with earthly gifts so long as we do not exalt them above Him. If our treasures become more important than the Almighty God who provides them, He will take them away and leave us to understand that He alone is our ultimate treasure. Isaiah writes “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure” (33:6). Understanding that God is Almighty and Sovereign is the KEY to untold wealth and treasure; not earthly storehouses full of treasure, but treasures in Heaven (Matthew 19:21).
So as we embark on a new year and a new decade, where are our treasures to be? Are we going to set aside gifts for ourselves here on earth to make our lives more prosperous and happy for a season or will we lay everything at the feet of the Almighty God of the Universe and know that the only treasure worth owning is the knowledge and fear of Him? This is the only true treasure that will last forever.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
This is the time of year when we see so much commercial interpretation of what Christmas is all about. You see people living together in harmony, thoughtfully sharing gifts with each other, and visiting family and friends. You see cards and ornaments and wrapping paper with words like “hope” and “peace” on them. But do people truly understand why those words are associated with Christmas? They seem to think that the world itself is going to suddenly grasp one another’s hands and start singing in a circle and be happy neighbors and friends with no strife. But that is really not true. As long as we live on this earth, we will always have strife and trouble because Satan rules here. He is the “prince of this world” (John 12:31).
The hope and peace for which each person longs is found in our hearts and minds through Jesus. When that little baby was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, He alone brought hope and peace. Not through His presence here on earth, but through the promise that was fulfilled by His presence. Isaiah 9 says “for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (6). The promise is that if we would trust in God and seek Him alone, we would be given that hope and peace. God is in us by the filling of the Holy Spirit, God is for us because He created us out of love never to be harmed, and God is with us through Christ, our Emmanuel. So our hope is found in Jesus through eternal life and our peace is inside by the filling of the Holy Spirit. Of course it would be wonderful if the world could all “just get along” and be peaceful like the beauty queen wishes of the pageants, but as long as the devil remains and we are broken and sinful, that will never happen.
My prayer is that each person who longs to understand the true meaning of Christmas and the peace and hope that accompany it will come to know Jesus Christ, the author of this season. May the hope for the future that He brings to fulfillment, and the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7) be found by every single person. The gifts are nice but they will be forgotten or wear out. The seasonal happiness is great, but it will fade with the coming of the new year and the bills that follow. But the joy of the knowledge of Jesus Christ is the greatest gift that we have ever been given, by our Father Himself, and it remains for all eternity.