The Treasure within
A professional treasure hunter was diving for pirate treasure in an ocean cove. He searched for hours with no luck. Finally he started toward the shore. When he was about knee deep in the water he tripped over an old strong box. He scooped it out and opened it. It was full of gold coins!
The Moral of the Story: Booty is Only Shin Deep
Last September a guy was using a metal detector in a field in Staffordshire and found to his astonishment a hoard of Saxon treasure; 5kg of gold and 2.5 kg of silver worth over £3 million.
What struck me about that story was there are people searching in fields all over the country to find treasure and yet this farmer had absolutely no idea what he had in his field. He had over £3m in his field but probably struggled to pay his bills the previous year.
We have all heard and seen the stories of treasure found – perhaps the most famous was Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb. I remember queuing as a child for three hours to see the golden mask. It’s an astonishing piece, but just imagine discovering it.
Lord Carnarvon who financed the dig asked Howard Carter
“Can you see anything?”
“Yes wonderful things”
This morning I want to take us on a treasure hunt and I know that at the end of this time I will be able to be like Carnarvon and ask “Can you see anything?” and you will say
“Yes wonderful things”
The Bank Statement
Every month –we have the joy of receiving a bank statement; for those of us who bank online we can see it everyday or receive mini-statements on our mobile phones.
I have to say like quite a few of us I expect that there are times when that statement has not been the greatest of encouragements.
It is always encouraging when despite your clever calculations and thoughtful budgeting, the bank statement arrives and it has considerably more in credit than you thought. –(Even after you remember those cheques that haven’t cleared yet!)
It is my hope to surprise you about your spiritual bank balance- to show you that you have treasure within you. To encourage you and to raise your heads.
Before you go and say “that’s all very well Tim but what use is a spiritual bank balance?” Let me remind you of the words of Jesus.
“Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:29-34
From this we see there is treasure of eternal value. And it appears possible that this treasure is within us.
What is Treasure?
When I was in my 20’s, I made for Sue’s birthday a jewellery box and in it she keeps things of value to her. Here it is and in it there are some pieces of value she inherited from her grandmother and her mother, but also other things I have given her and others too. In other words they are gifts to her rather than things she has bought herself.
I remember too that in my childhood on of my grandmothers had a button tin and whenever we went to see her we could open the tin and have a look through at all the different buttons she had collected over the years.
My other Grandmother too had a treasure. One that I enjoyed even more. She had a cupboard and I could get into this cupboard and in the cupboard she had a large pile of about 50 marvel comics.
One of the greatest treasure stories I have ever heard is found in Whinnie the Pooh
Do you remember this incident. It is Eeyores birthday and everyone has forgotten. (Or he thinks they have) so pooh goes to get a jar of honey and piglet a balloon, well if you know the story Eeyore ends up with an empty honey jar and a burst balloon. But he is delighted with these giftsseeing the love of his friends beyond the nature of the gifts as the true treasure.
Piglet tells Eeyore that he has brought Eeyore a balloon, at which point Eeyore gets very excited. Poor Piglet has to explain that he fell down on the way, and that he accidentally burst the balloon. There is a very long silence, and then Piglet hands over the small piece of damp rag, sniffling a little bit as he does so (because of the horror of the situation).
Eeyore asks what colour the balloon was, when it was actually a balloon, and Piglet says that it was red, which happens to be Eeyore's favourite colour. And Eeyore asks how big it used to be, and Piglet says that it was the same size as Piglet, which is Eeyore's favourite size. Only now of course it isn't really red or Piglet-sized at all.
Piglet is standing there feeling very sad at the whole turn of events when Pooh appears. Pooh wishes Eeyore many happy returns of the day again, and Eeyore says that he is having them, thank you. Pooh says that he has brought Eeyore a present. Poor Piglet is sitting a little way away with his head in his paws, snuffling.
Pooh tells Eeyore that he has brought him a Useful Pot, with A Very Happy Birthday with Love from Pooh written on the side, and that Eeyore can use it to put things in. And he gives Eeyore the pot.
At this point Eeyore become quite excited, because has just spotted something very interesting indeed. He tells Pooh that his balloon will fit into the pot! Pooh says no, and explains that balloons are much too big to go into pots, and what Eeyore should do with a balloon is hold it and...
But Eeyore says that his balloon is different, and he picks it up with his teeth, and puts it into the pot - and it fits beautifully! So he takes it out again, and puts it in again, and takes it out again, and puts it in again.
"So it does!" said Pooh. "It goes in!"
"So it does!" said Piglet. "And it comes out!"
"Doesn't it?" said Eeyore. "It goes in and out like anything."
So Pooh and Piglet are both very glad that they have given Eeyore such useful and entertaining presents, and they let Eeyore know how glad they are, but Eeyore is too busy putting his balloon into the pot and then taking it out again, and he is very happy indeed
Perhaps this is the moment to remind you that treasure is a word for anything of value.
Gk – Thesauros so this is where we get the idea of a thesaurus it’s a treasury of words.
But if words can be treasure so can anything. So what God values as treasure may not be what we think of.
Let’s look at the book of proverbs and wonderful passage in Chapter 2:1-6
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
So the first treasures we see God value are
I want to return to these in a moment, but I thought it was important to show you that there are many different treasures that God speaks of in His word.
Perhaps the most famous is to be found in 2 Corinthians 3-4
“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”
It speaks of this treasure in jars of clay. If you are not very careful you miss the focus.
Yes we are being described as fragile clay pots and we probably seen that before. But what is the treasure? The treasure that keeps us from being crushed or despairing abandoned or destroyed?
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
So to insight, wisdom, and understanding we can add knowledge.