Advent Devotion 4 – True Treasure

Today’s Reading: Matthew 13-16

Matthew 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (ESV)

The Christmas season in America is dominated by consumerism.  Forecasts for 2012 indicate that spending associated with the holiday season will reach approximately $69 billion.  No matter the status of our economy, people are going to spend their money during this time of year.  We all have experienced the excitement of watching loved ones open the gifts we have purchased for them.  It can honestly become addictive, especially when it comes to our children.

As exhilarating as giving gifts can be, we also have experienced the reality that the excitement over those gifts quickly fades. Before long, there is another “latest and greatest” available that makes our once awesome toy not so awesome anymore…(ahem…iPhone 5 anyone?) Why do we allow ourselves to continually be duped? We’re addicted to the buzz of new “stuff.”  We see the newest gadget, trend, or toy and something inside us snaps.  We go to great lengths, especially at Christmas, to provide these things for those we love, only to discover that by March they don’t even remember what you bought.

I have nothing against the exchange of gifts at Christmas time.  In fact, I really enjoy giving gifts to those I love.  However, we must be careful to remember that earthly treasure carries no eternal value.  I once heard a friend of mine say, “the possessions you cherish today will be sold by your kids for pennies on the dollar.”

In the midst of this Advent season, we must always remember that true “treasure” is not found in the latest Wii console.  No one would sell all they have to possess a video game system.  However, in Matthew 13:44 Jesus describes to us a treasure that is worth all we have and more.  The Kingdom of Heaven is the treasure that will last.  This treasure was made available to us when, 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born, lived, died on the cross, and was raised again.  So, during this Christmas season, let us not be distracted by the earthly treasures that rust and become moth-eaten.  May our attention be focused upon the One who came to provide the true treasure of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and eternal life through His shed blood.

Prayer of Reflection: Father, in the midst of this season where the giving of gifts can easily slip into the driver’s seat of our attention, please help us remember where our true treasure is found.  Thank you that, in Christ, we have the only treasure that will last, and it is worth more than all we have.  Let us live and give this season in light of this truth.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

 

What’s it Worth?

Exodus 19:4-5 – You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings and brought you to myself.  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine. (ESV)

I’m not an economist.  I barely passed Econ 101 when I was at Vanderbilt, so I’m not about to begin talking about the law of supply and demand or any other economic principles.  But, I believe there is a general rule to determining value.  It doesn’t ultimately hinge upon what the market is doing, or the current value of the dollar.  Quite simply, the greatest determining factor of value is what someone is willing to pay.

The definition of treasure is, “any thing or person greatly valued or highly prized.” Jesus paralleled the Kingdom of God to a treasure.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.  Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. – Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

Obviously this man valued this treasure above anything he owned because he was willing to sell all he owned to purchase the field that held this treasure.

If, indeed, value is determined by the price paid, then those who put their faith in Christ have a value that exceeds anything this world can offer.  Exodus 19 tells us that the people of God are His “treasured possession”.  So how much value does this “treasure” have in God’s eyes?  How much did He pay for this treasure?

The price that God paid to purchase His treasure was the life of His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ.  God sent Jesus to this earth to live a spotless and perfect life so that in the end, He could go to the cross and die a sacrificial death, thereby purchasing our ransom from sin and death.  If you have ever struggled with self-worth, look to God, the ultimate determiner of worth and see that He was willing to pay the ultimate price for you.  No matter what the world says, you must always remember that if you are a child of God, you are a treasure, and nothing will decrease your value in His eyes. EVER!