Stories of faith, life, and love

Tag: treasure

Treasure

Bread and Jam for Francis. Along with a wide selection of Berenstain Bears books, that is the first book I can actually remember reading. I got it from the school library. That’s where I got most of my books until junior high.  I was one of those students who took home the book club order sheets and painstakingly chose which books I wanted. I didn’t get them all. I rarely got them, but I studied those flyers just the same. To be honest, I still love to go through them, circling all the best children’s books and wishing I had an unlimited supply of money.

I can’t imagine a world without books. I’m a re-reader. It is with great pain that I part with a book I enjoyed. If it was just me, I wouldn’t mind a house full of books. More book shelves than chairs? Not a problem. You only need one comfy chair to enjoy a good book. My husband and children do not agree. So, I’ve known the pain of downsizing my collection. I keep only my absolute favorites. That’s going to change soon. My oldest son is getting married, and I’ve laid claim to his room for a writing office. In my space I will be able to have as many books as I want. Victory!

Books are my earthly treasure. They’re the material thing I value more than any other possession.  Notice I do say possession. There are things I value more than books like faith and family. No matter how much a book has impacted my life, it will never be as important to me as those I love. There will never be a time when my passion for books is more important than people, not just those I love but people in general. My treasure has its place.

Treasure for Alison Schuyler in Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander is found in art, not books. As an artist herself, Alison has more than just an appreciation for art. It is her passion. Not only does she value the old masters of the art world, she also participates in the creation of artistic works. Whether sketched in her notebook or painted on a canvas, Alison’s works of art are an outpouring of her connections to the world around her.

Alison’s whole world revolves around her passion. The family art gallery located in the Netherlands at the start of World War II has been passed down through the years. With everything in her life depending on and springing from the art she treasures, Alison has learned to place it at the top in her priorities. That belief is challenged as Hitler’s reach begins to extend into her world. Alison is confronted by the harsh realities of life for those around her. While trying to protect the beautiful works of art men have created, Alison comes to understand the need to protect the works of art God has created in each individual. Finding love and experiencing loss and life-threatening dangers grows in Alison an understanding that every treasure has its rightful place.

What we treasure shows in how we live our lives. In the New Testament, the Pharisees would say they treasured God above all else. Until Jesus came, everyone accepted this almost without question. They were, after all, the religious leaders. They should have known more than anyone what it means to love God. But they were wrong.

Time and again Jesus confronted the Pharisees with the idea that they were treasuring the wrong things. When Jesus healed on the Sabbath and they corrected Him, Jesus reminded them loving people is more important than specific Sabbath rules. At one point he basically called them beautiful looking graves full of death. His point was that they said they treasured God, but their real treasure was in rule making and keeping. When the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 came to Jesus questioning the way to eternal life, Jesus started where he was in understanding. Jesus pointed out all the basic commandments and ended with loving your neighbor as yourself. The rich young ruler assured Jesus that he had kept all these laws since his childhood. This is where Jesus turns the young man from what he understands to the deeper truth. He tells the man to sell all his goods and give them to the poor. The man leaves disappointed.

Why? Because he couldn’t take Jesus’ message that loving Him was more than living with a constant spiritual to-do list. I’m sure that for the most part the young man did keep the letter of the law. The law says don’t lie. I didn’t lie. I just didn’t tell the whole truth.

The man was following law, but he wasn’t following God in his heart. The heart goes further than the law. Following God in your heart is what Jesus referenced in Matthew 5:21-28. He pointed to the written law and then urged people to look at what the law really meant in relation to being right with God.  Jesus used these challenge to show them and us that following Him is about more than the exact written law. It’s about the heart. It’s about what the heart treasures.

By the Book: Read the passages referenced above. What do you treasure most?

Treasure Hunts

eggsHiding Easter eggs well is an art form. Hiding spots must be chosen carefully, keeping several factors in mind. First is the location of the hunt. If it is rainy or cold, an indoor hunt may have to replace the traditional outdoor hunt. Age is also important. Hiding an egg in the branches of a tree is fine for an older child, but a toddler will never see it. The toddler sometimes misses the egg sitting in the open on the sidewalk. Another important factor is whether the hunt is for an individual child or a group. If it’s a group, you have to take care to hide the eggs evenly between the age appropriate hiding places and make sure older children know which ones to leave for little ones who move a slower and may not even understand the concept of hunting the eggs.

But once they get the concept, it’s so much fun to watch a child’s enthusiasm over the Easter egg hunt. You’d think someone hid gold rather than candy and hard boiled eggs! Of course, to a child, opening a plastic egg to find a favorite candy is a real treasure hunt worthy of all their excitement.

Kat Williams, from Callum’s Compass by Sara Foust, knows the feeling. When her friend Clayton passes away, he leaves her clues that start her on her own treasure hunt. Unlike egg hunts of childhood, this treasure hunt promises a big reward and lands Kat in more danger than she imagined possible. But she’s not alone in her hunt. Ryan Jenkins, a wildlife officer, reluctantly accepts his duty to help Kat in her position as a biologist doing research in the area. As they spend time together, Kat tells him of the treasure hunt, and he finds himself going along on the adventure.  All they have to do to find more rewarding treasures than they’d hoped is figure out each riddle of a clue and avoid dangers from both nature and the criminals who want to stop their treasure hunt permanently.

Most of us have outgrown Easter egg hunts, and hopefully, we won’t face a life or death treasure hunt like Kat any time soon.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t treasure for us to seek out. Colossians 2:3 tells us godly wisdom and knowledge are treasures. Several verses in Proverbs reinforce this idea. 2 Timothy tells us the gospel of Jesus is a treasure we are to guard through the Holy Spirit.  These are just some of the treasures God gives His children, and they are treasures that cannot be taken or destroyed.

By the Book: Scripture tells us what we treasure in our hearts is what comes out in our lives. Is your life showing the treasures of God or the treasures of this world?

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