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THREE TREASURES
by Philip Owen

         I’m sure we have all thought much about finances lately.  We have been forced to do so as we have seen America fall from a land of prosperity and plenty to one of need.  As our incomes threaten to shrink in the face of debilitating inflation, as many are not permitted to work, and as many others see their jobs disappear altogether, we dream of treasures that cannot be corrupted or lost.  The Word has much to say about treasure.  In fact, what is, perhaps, the key verse concerning treasure is recorded twice.  “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21; Lk. 12:34).  According to God’s Word, there are three treasures, one of which every heart covets.  Which of these three is your treasure?

         Treasures of hell.  Do you realize that many people are storing up the “riches” of hell?  Paul writes:  “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up [“treasurest up,” KJV] wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:4, 5).   Those who refuse Christ’s riches receive His wrath in abundance.  It is hard to believe that there are those who treasure their own sin so much that they refuse the grace of God.  Nevertheless, it is true.  Here are the treasures being stored up for those who refuse to repent of their sin and trust in Christ, the Savior:  “wrath and indignation . . . tribulation and distress” (Rom. 2:8b, 9b).  How foolish to treasure up these commodities:  they are negative beyond expression.

         Treasures of earth.  These treasures include what we deposit in banks, exhibit in our homes, or manage in financial portfolios.  They are the essential stuff of commerce and the means of our livelihood.  They may be nonpecuniary as well, such as position, fame, and relationships.  These treasures are essential to our existence and may well be very good, so long as we do not “treasure” them.  The treasures of earth are provided as objects for our bodies’ existence but not for our hearts’ desires.  It is written of Moses that he considered “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward” (Heb. 11:26).  Some time ago, Americans were afforded a view of the riches of Egypt in the form of the treasures of King Tutankhamen.  Clearly, Tut’s treasures were great, and, certainly, as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses was privy to treasures similar to those of the boy king.  But Moses was unmotivated by those riches, for he knew their value to be what James declares them to be:  “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you.  Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten.  Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire.  It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!” (Jam. 5:1-3).  We are seeing the treasures of the rich begin to corrupt, canker, and rust right now.  And shortly after the Lord returns, during the tribulation, that gold and silver will be completely worthless.  For men who are freezing will not relinquish their small hoards of fuel for gold, and men who are starving will not surrender their last bites of bread for silver.

         Treasures of heaven.  These are the lasting treasures of Christ—treasures that enrich the body, soul, and spirit in this life and provide heavenly reward in eternity.  Paul admonishes believers to “do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation” (I Tim. 6:18b, 19a).  Writing earlier to the Colossians, Paul assured:  “For I want you to know . . . that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:1-3).  Space will not permit nor can language accommodate a full list of the treasures we have in Christ.  But all the wealth on earth is inadequate to purchase even one of those treasures.

         Where is your treasure?  That’s where your heart is?  Have you refused the saving grace of God?  If so, your “treasure” is in hell.  Are you earthly-minded, concerned with the things of this life?  Then your treasure is going to rot or be destroyed before your very eyes.  Or have you trusted Christ alone, and are you serving Him out of a thankful, loving heart?  Then you will have all the treasures of heaven, and what is more, you will be blessed as the “special treasure” (Ex. 19:5, NASB, margin) of the Lord.

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