It’s summer time, and for a lot of churches, that means the highly-anticipated arrival of Vacation Bible School. Maybe VBS is an outdated term; they probably use something hip and trendy like #iVBS these days!
I got to thinking about these summer camps and realized that, at least in the past, one of the most common themes was “Treasure Hunters” or something pertaining to pirates, exciting quests, and hidden treasure chests.
Why does the idea of treasure interest us so much? Quite simply, human beings were hardwired for treasure. Jesus says as much in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
In these verses we find three treasure principles. If we understand these principles, it’ll help us make sense of the choices and decisions we make every day.
1. You Pursue Treasure
Human beings don’t live by instinct. Animals survive on instinct, but we live by value systems, goals, and hopes and dreams. We identify people, objects, locations, and ideas as important, and then we live in pursuit of those treasures.
I wish that I could say my treasures were loving my wife, serving the church, and telling others about Jesus. I do treasure those things, but I also treasure control; I treasure being right; I treasure comfort; I treasure accomplishment.
Those treasures – control, truth, comfort, and accomplishment – are not inherently wrong, but they’re dangerous in the heart and hands of a sinner. By God’s grace, these have become less dominating treasures in my life, but they’re still things I selfishly pursue. What do you treasure?
2. Treasure Controls You
Treasure will dominate you. The thing that you’ve named as treasure will control your heart, and the treasure that controls your heart will control your words and behaviors. If you’ve named something as a treasure in your life, it’ll dominate you.
You could argue that everything you say and everything you do in life is an attempt to pursue your treasure. When you speak to someone, you’re pursuing a treasure, and when you do something, you’re pursuing a treasure. What do your words and actions reveal about your pursuit of treasure?
3. Treasure Impacts You
The pursuit of treasure has consequences. The noun consequence isn’t always negative; it just means “a result or effect of an action or condition.” In other words, your life, your marriage, your family, and your ministry will either be enhanced by, or victimized by, what you treasure. What has your treasure done to your life?
What’s Your Treasure?
If you’re a husband and a father and you treasure your alone time, you’ll get irritated and prickly when your wife and kids require love and care. If you’re a wife and mother and you treasure cleanliness, your family will become weary of your demands.
If you’re a pastor or ministry leader and you treasure growth and success, you’ll panic when your church or program doesn’t grow as fast as you want, or as fast as the other church or program is growing. Can I say this - since when was growth by grace our responsibility anyway?
Whoever you are, and whatever your calling, your life will either be enhanced by or victimized by what you treasure. The scary thing is, you can’t avoid being a treasure hunter, so you need to ask yourself: what is it that I treasure, and how closely is my treasure associated with the Kingdom of God?
By grace, you’ve been given the power to pursue a different kind of treasure. The Spirit of God resides in your soul, giving you the desire, and the ability, to pursue heavenly treasure. Admit to your pursuit of selfish treasure and watch what God can do!