1997-06-26 - Treasure
I have to start off here by saying that, I do not often feel like a treasure. I have a wife, two boys and friends who think the world of me. They love me very much and they let me know in varied and wonderful ways. But when I think of 'me', the real me, I have to say that I think of myself more like this:
Romans 7:18-19 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. (NAS)
I stand up and shout, "Yeah! That's more like it. Now you've got it." My flesh is controlled, riddled with sin which Paul laments here causes him to do things he would not want to do, and not do the things he would prefer in his heart. I know the evil I have done and am still perfectly capable of doing. And yet, Jesus sees me like this:
Matt 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (NAS)
You and I are the pearl of great price. You and I are the treasure hidden in the field. Shocking in my mind that anyone, let alone the Creator of the Universe would see me in this light. But He sees me risen, and glorified as though it were already an accomplished fact. There's more! The field is the world, representing everyone who has ever lived, is living and will ever live. When He paid for the field by "selling all that he had", He redeemed the world by dying and shedding His sinless blood for this fallen race of man. But, he only saw, or focused on, the one pearl. In other words, Jesus Christ would have come to this Earth, lived His perfect, sinless life and died on the cross to redeem you or me, if we were the only ones who would ever accept His marvelous gift. Stunning. So, what is this treasure the Lord sees in us?
2 Cor 4:5-10 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (NAS)
I like this analogy, "earthen vessels", or clay pots. And mine is probably cracked in a few places. We are referred to as common containers that have placed within them the light of knowing God, or the Light that shines out of darkness.
John 1:6-9 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. 9 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (NAS)
Those of us who will carry the Light in our hearts, are blessed with enlightenment, along with grace, mercy and peace in our hearts. And if those around us are honest with themselves, they will acknowledge the wisdom that comes from that Light in our lives. Sadly, many today will not. That does not change the Truth, nor diminish the Light.
So, this treasure God sees in us, are the good things He has placed in us. There is nothing in us that we can brag about. Our best efforts are 'filthy rags', better translated 'menstrual clothes'. Yet, Christ can take us in our unworthiness, and cleans us up and fill our hearts to overflowing so that we spill out into the lives around us. Be an overflowing cup of cold water to someone who needs it. Let them quietly see the treasure shine out of your heart. Don't be embarrassed if you seem different. Jesus has made you that way to make others want to be like you. Interesting, when we want to be just like Him.
Lord Jesus, Help us see ourselves in a balanced perspective, knowing our human flaws and frailties, and still seeing the treasure that we carry growing and shining to this lost, dark and dying world. Guard our hearts and minds as we walk through this world, and keep our tongues in check that we should primarily glorify You. Make us small lights that point to the Light of Jesus. Amen.