"So, what would you like for Christmas?"
If you have children in your family, this is a question you probably only need to ask once as Christmas approaches. It is usually followed by a chorus of "got-to-haves" and "have-to-haves," delivered with such passion and conviction that it just about breaks your heart! And like any good parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, you try your best to oblige.
While it is certainly biblical "to give good gifts" to our children (Matthew 7:11), the true reason we give gifts at Christmas is often lost during the frenzy of activity surrounding the season. With gifts to buy, decorations to put up, meals to prepare, and get-togethers with family and friends to plan, it is little wonder we may lose focus on God's perfect "Gift" to us.
Advertisers bombard us with constant messages to buy the latest "treasure" to show how much we care for those we love. We have all felt pressure to give something, and while our intentions may be good, it is all too easy to get caught up in the materialistic side of Christmas. Is it any wonder we become distracted and focus our attention on earthly "treasures" rather than on the ultimate Gift? Consider what the Gift Himself had to say about this in the Sermon on the Mount.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Jesus instructed believers to "lay up...treasures in heaven" rather than on earth. The term "lay up" means to store or build up a reserve, and implies a dedication of skill, energy, and resources over time. While the pursuit of earthly treasure is certainly not wrong if it is used to provide for your family and other Kingdom purposes, the treasures we should "lay up" are the heavenly kind. The reasons for this are quite simple--heavenly treasure does not decay, nor can it be stolen from the Creator's mighty hand!
But the final sentence provides the real zinger, for here we learn why our focus should be on heavenly treasure. "Treasure," in whatever form, indicates the attitude of the heart. In other words, what you spend your time, energy, and money on reveals the true nature of your desires. How humbling and convicting! Truly, the Word "is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
It seems fitting then, with the approaching Christmas season, to rephrase our Christmas question in context with our Lord's instruction: "So, where is your treasure? Where is your heart?"
Please know that the "heart" of ICR is to uphold the matchless Word of our Creator, and we are so humbly grateful to those who share our vision through their prayers and finances. Our agenda for 2008 is positively bursting with new science and minsitry initiatives, and we pray that our Creator will provide the means to see these bear much lasting fruit. If you are able, please consider how you can help in this work.
From all of us at ICR, may the Prince of Peace be your strength and sustenance this Christmas and throughout the New Year!
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations.
Cite this article: Morris IV, H. 2007. Heavenly Treasure. Acts & Facts. 36 (12): 17.