So many of us invest our lives in chasing what others or the culture defines worthy of pursuit. Only to discover that what we pursued was unfulfilling or unworthy of the sacrifice. Or in the words of King Solomon a “pursuit of the wind”.
EARTHLY OR ETERNAL TREASURES
Once upon a time the American dream was more than accumulating money and possessions. At its core was…
Making this world a better place for future generations.
Being a beacon of hope to the world.
Solving difficult problems regardless of the financial benefit.
Like much that was once great about America. We have abandoned the “greater good” for the “greater me”.
Debt statistics would suggest most Americans want what they want when they want it.
Credit card $5,315
Personal loan $16,458
Auto loan $19,703
Student loan $38,792
Mortgage $208,185 (Experian 2020 Consumer Credit Review)
In materially rich cultures shopping is driven primarily by emotional, not physical needs. Individuals ignorantly or naively believing material possessions and temporal success can fill the emptiness in your soul reserved for eternity— Jesus.
Solomon too was continually trying to soothe that ache in his soul. The richest man who ever lived discovered that pleasures and possessions brought only momentary happiness and were soon replaced with longing and emptiness.
“Let me dabble and test you in pleasure and see if there is any good in that.” But look, that, too, was fleeting.
Of laughter I said, “Foolishness.”
Of pleasure, “And in the end what is accomplished?”
So I thought about drinking wine, for it soothes the flesh. But all the while my mind was filled with thoughts of wisdom. About how to rein in foolishness until I might understand the best way for us to live out our brief lives and number of days under heaven.
Next, I began some enormous projects. Building my own houses and planting my own vineyards. I designed impressive gardens and parks and planted them with all kinds of fruit trees. I installed pools of water to irrigate the forests of young saplings. I acquired male and female servants. I even had servants born into my household. I had herds of cattle, flocks of sheep and goats. More than anyone who had ever lived in Jerusalem before me.
I amassed a fortune in silver and gold, and I stockpiled the treasures of kings and provinces. I hired men and women to sing and entertain me, and I pampered myself with what every man desires— many women. I surrounded myself with all this and became great, far greater than anyone who had ever lived in Jerusalem before me. And still, my wisdom never left my side.
Throughout this experiment, I let myself have anything my eyes desired, and I did not withhold from my mind any pleasure. What was the conclusion? My mind found joy in all the work I did. My work was its own reward! As I continued musing over all I had accomplished, and the hard work it took. I concluded that all this, too, was fleeting, like trying to embrace the wind. Is there any real gain by all our hard work under the sun? Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
Solomon at the end of his life realized nothing on earth satisfies the soul’s thirst for eternity. Something the Samaritan woman at the well searched for in all the wrong places her entire adult life. Thankfully, she crossed paths with the “Living Water” that has the power to quench that thirst— Jesus.
So when the Lord learned that the Pharisees had been told that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John, although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were. He left Judea and returned again to Galilee.
Now He had to go through Samaria. He arrived at a Samaritan town called Sychar, near the tract of land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down by the well. It was then about the sixth hour, noon.
Then a woman from Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink”
For His disciples had gone off into the city to buy food.
The Samaritan woman asked Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
For Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew God’s gift of eternal life, and who it is who says, ‘Give Me a drink.’ You would have asked Him instead, and He would have given you living water— eternal life.”
She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with— no bucket and rope, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well? Who used to drink from it himself and his sons and his cattle also?”
Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water. Satisfying his thirst for God. Welling up, continually flowing, bubbling within him to eternal life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water. So that I will not get thirsty nor have to continually come all the way here to draw.”
At this, Jesus said, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered, “I do not have a husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I do not have a husband’. For you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. You have said this truthfully.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place where one ought to worship is in Jerusalem at the temple.”
Jesus replied, “Woman, believe Me, a time is coming when God’s kingdom comes when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans do not know what you worship. We Jews do know what we worship, for salvation is from the Jews. But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit— from the heart, the inner self and in truth. For the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers. God is spirit, the Source of life. Yet invisible to mankind, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming. He who is called Christ— the Anointed. When that One comes, He will tell us everything we need to know.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He— the Messiah.” John 4:1-26
Like Solomon and the Samaritan woman, the rich young man was also thirsty. His pursuit of the wind had left him disillusioned and disappointed. Seeking answers, he too listened to Jesus. But unlike the Samaritan woman, he was unwilling to repent.
The rich young man came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, what essentially good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life. That is eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom?”
Jesus answered, “Why are you asking Me about what is essentially good? There is only One who is essentially good. But if you wish to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments.”
He said to Jesus, “Which commandments?”
Jesus answered, “You shall not commit murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself”
That is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others.
The young man said to Him, “I have kept all these things from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect. That is have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies. Go and sell what you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow Me. Becoming My disciple. Believing and trusting in Me. Walking the same path of life that I walk.”
But when the young man heard this. He left grieving and distressed. For he owned much property and had many possessions which he treasured more than his relationship with God.
Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you. It is difficult for a rich man who clings to possessions and status as security to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man who places his faith in wealth and status to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this. They were completely astonished and bewildered. Saying, “Then who can be saved from the wrath of God?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With people, as far as it depends on them, it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:16-26
Knowing the inherent selfishness and fickleness of men’s and women’s hearts, Jesus urges us, “Do not store up for yourselves material treasures on earth. Where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store 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, your wishes, your desires— that on which your life centers will be also.
The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is clear— spiritually perceptive, your whole body will be full of light— benefiting from God’s precepts. But if your eye is bad— spiritually blind, your whole body will be full of darkness— devoid of God’s precepts. So, if the very light inside you your inner self— your heart— your conscience is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness!
No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon— money, possessions, fame, status or whatever is valued more than the Lord. Matthew 6:19-24
Sadly, like the rich young ruler, many are deaf and do not hear Christ’s invitation of salvation. Refusing to acknowledge that He alone guarantees the treasure of eternal life.
Beloved, the world is watching disciples of Christ to discover who Jesus is. Don’t be like the rich young man who was willing to serve Jesus as long as it was convenient and didn’t require the sacrifice of what he treasured most. For the rich young man it was his riches and the worldly honor it brought him.
Who knows? This rich young man could have become Judas’ s replacement. A disciple of Christ who could have significantly impacted the early Church. An individual who would have been known by his name instead of his treasure.
What is your treasure? If Jesus asked you to surrender it to Him, would you?
Do you love your earthly treasure more than your eternal treasure?
Don’t be like the rich young man. Who one day will stand before Papa and learn what he sacrificed during his earthly existence and in eternity because he was unwilling to sacrifice his earthly treasure.
Be a disciple of Christ who confidently stands before Papa, knowing that no treasure on earth compared to the treasure of Jesus in your life. Not only will eternal treasures be your reward, but you will also hear Papa proudly say these magnificent words.
“Well done my good and faithful servant.”