“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matthew 6:19-20
People love to collect things—from baseball cards to stamps to coins. And while collecting can be a fun hobby, it is sobering to think that once we leave this earth, everything we own becomes part of someone else’s collection. What value would it be to have collected much on earth but little or nothing for eternity?
Jesus had something to say about this. Speaking to His disciples, He said: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20).
Eternal treasures never lose their worth. They can never be spoiled or stolen. And just think—we can actually stockpile them! How? Through acts of service. Through leading others to Jesus. By being compassionate to those in need. By living according to the will and ways of Jesus. In the gospel of Mark, we read that the Lord tested the rich young ruler’s heart when He asked him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow Him. The ruler’s response revealed what he really valued (Mark. 10:21-22).
It’s easy to become enamored with earthside stuff, but when you make the choice to follow Jesus, He’ll show you the joy of collecting eternal treasures. Nothing on earth can compare!
The treasures of earth do not last,
But God has prepared us a place
Where someday with Him we will dwell,
Enjoying the riches of grace. —Branon
Hold tightly to what is eternal and loosely to what is temporal.
The Final Say
By: Lynn Cowell, Proverbs 31.com
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:45 (NLT)
You can still hear them today: words spoken by a teacher, parent or coach. Someone who should have spoken good, kind and encouraging words, but didn’t.
For me, those words were “too loud.”
My report cards carried some combination of “talks too much” and “needs to be quiet.” In fact, my fifth grade teacher moved my desk to within arm’s reach of his own to try to get this accomplished. How embarrassing!
In junior high, I chose a Christian school. However, since my behavior didn’t change, neither did the reports. I was put on probation for insubordination … yes, for talking! If I didn’t change, I was getting kicked out! If only they had a vision for what I would do for a living one day — become a speaker — how could they have encouraged me?
Watching those “other” girls, the ones who seemed to be naturally gentle, quiet and self-controlled, I longed to be like them. If only I were different. Those thoughts lingered, as I believed I couldn’t change. It was just the way I was wired.
Maybe you have had thoughts created by words spoken to you, spoken over you. Powerful words from those who could have developed your potential. They could have used their words to draw good out.
But that’s not what happened.
I wondered as I read Abigail’s story, how she overcame negative words.
First Samuel 25:3 introduces us to a very wealthy couple: “The man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name, Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in his dealings” (HCSB).
We might think that rich plus ravishing should equal the real deal. But we can doubt that this was true, because if Nabal “was crude and mean in all his dealings” (as the NLT version describes him), most likely that would have included Abigail.
In this chapter, David and his troop of 600 are in the desert. He heard wealthy Nabal lived nearby, so he sends 10 men to request food. Without being asked, David’s men had been protecting Nabal’s flocks, and they were hungry. Nabal rudely responds — essentially saying, “No.”
Upon hearing this reply, David headed toward Nabal’s estate to teach him a lesson. When Abigail hears trouble is brewing, she gathers some gifts and gets moving. “When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him.She fell at his feet and said, ‘I accept all blame in this matter, my lord …’” (1 Samuel 25:23-24, NLT).
Are you as stunned as I am? This woman, who would have felt the brunt of Nabal’s pride and insecurity, takes the blame when she deserves none of it. Out of her mouth flows humility and wisdom, saving her entire family.
Abigail responded like a woman who knew who she was: a woman with God-esteem, not a woman who was afraid to speak her mind after years of marriage to her “crude and mean” husband. (Please note that her response never excuses verbal or physical abuse from someone.)
Why did Abigail display unshakable confidence when facing this harrowing situation?
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
In your heart.
If we look at the words which flowed from Abigail’s mouth, we can see how she stored up a treasury of good in her heart, for good is what flowed. Whatever words Nabal may have spoken to her, she did not let her heart hang on to those words.
Abigail teaches us this truth: God’s confidence flows from our mouth when we fill our heart and mind with God’s truth.
Our God has the final say on who we are. His words are what we will treasure in our heart.
Holy Spirit, empower me to treasure Your words about who I am over all others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Streams in the Desert
By: L. B. Cowman
Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? (Isa. 28:24).
One day in early summer I walked past a beautiful meadow. The grass was as soft and thick and fine as an immense green Oriental rug. In one corner stood a fine old tree, a sanctuary for numberless wild birds; the crisp, sweet air was full of their happy songs. Two cows lay in the shade, the very picture of content. Down by the roadside the saucy dandelion mingled his gold with the royal purple of the wild violet. I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry eyes, and thinking in my soul that God never made a fairer spot than my lovely meadow.
The next day I passed that way again, and lo! the hand of the despoiler had been there. A plowman and his great plow, now standing idle in the furrow, had in a day wrought a terrible havoc. Instead of the green grass there was turned up to view the ugly, bare, brown earth; instead of the singing birds there were only a few hens industriously scratching for worms. Gone were the dandelion and the pretty violet. I said in my grief, “How could any one spoil a thing so fair?”
Then my eyes were opened by some unseen hand, and I saw a vision, a vision of a field of ripe corn ready for the harvest. I could see the giant, heavily laden stalks in the autumn sun; I could almost hear the music of the wind as it would sweep across the golden tassels. And before I was aware, the brown earth took on a splendor it had not had the day before.
Oh, that we might always catch the vision of an abundant harvest, when the great Master Plowman comes, as He often does, and furrows through our very souls, uprooting and turning under that which we thought most fair, and leaving for our tortured gaze only the bare and the unbeautiful. –Selected
Why should I start at the plough of my Lord, that maketh the deep furrows on my soul? I know He is no idle husbandman, He purposeth a crop. –Samuel Rutherford