Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Master Treasure Hunter

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ... Philippians 3:7-8 (NASB)

I love watching Antiques Roadshow. To me, it is exciting to see what people find at garage sales and flea markets. I laugh with them as they find out that their $2.00 find is actually worth $2,000. They found treasure! In one way or another, all of us are treasure hunters. It is a thrill to pay next to nothing for an item that is really worth something. But sometimes the thrill of treasure hunting taints our outlook. When we find that we can get something for almost nothing, we begin to think that greater effort or investment should bring a higher margin of reward. Pretty soon, we begin to apply this outlook to every part of our lives, even our service to Christ. We tithe - we expect God to increase what we have. We sacrifice our time - we feel that God should reward us for our sacrifice. We expect our service to reap dividends of blessing and for the most part, the blessings being sought are material and physical.

In Job 8:5, in the midst of Job's intense suffering, Bildad said these words to him: "...if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, if you are pure and live with complete integrity, he will rise up and restore your happy home."(NLT) Bildad felt that if Job was really serving God and doing what He desired then Job would not know his current suffering. In his own way, Bildad was a treasure hunter. He expected godly living to reap material benefit. How much do our expectations line up with a Bildad-view of blessing? In some ways, do we want the material and physical reward so that others will see it and say that our life is blessed? Or, do we just think that we deserve material and physical reward? Is material reward the only thing that makes service to Christ worth it?

If our focus is on external benefit -- in suffering: release, in sacrifice: reward, in ministry: praise -- then our service is to ourselves. Such a description does not define a bond-servant or true friend of Christ.

Philippians 3:7-8 shows us that Paul did not agree with Bildad's outlook. Paul had known the deepest of suffering and yet he did not see this suffering as a lack of blessing. On the contrary, he saw the suffering itself as blessing. Why? Because he entrusted his entire life to God. He knew that anything that God allowed in his life was to bring about the greatest of treasure: deeper relationship with Christ which would enable him to be made into the image of Christ. Yes, Paul was a treasure hunter, but his treasure was not financial gain, physical blessing or release from suffering, Paul's treasure was Jesus Christ -- his greatest pursuit was to know Christ more.

External reward will deteriorate, but true friendship with Christ is an eternal treasure which will never depreciate. Paul, like any good treasure hunter, knew that consistent appreciation is the most coveted characteristic in treasure. Actually, Paul was not just a good treasure hunter, he was a Master treasure hunter. He sought the lasting treasure of his Master, Jesus Christ.

~Lord, you know I love a good bargain. I want to be a good steward of all that you have given me, but I do not want to look for external treasures at the expense of eternal treasures. May lasting treasure be the focus of my life. I want to be a Master treasure hunter. In Jesus' Name, Amen~


Post a Comment