TREASURES

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

Rainbow Loom is the current craft phenomenon that has captured the attention of youngsters this summer. It is a laptop loom on which a child takes tiny circular bands and loops them together with a threading stylus to create bracelets, necklaces, and hair pieces. The bands come in many colors and the creations are brilliant and serviceable. My little niece and nephew introduced me to this activity and happily insisted on making bracelets for me. They carefully chose the colors themselves but made sure my favorite color, blue, was dominant in the color scheme. After they were finished with their craftsmanship, I put on the treasures. They were thrilled! They glowed with pride and satisfaction as I complimented them on their creative talents. The creations rested on my wrist but the actual treasure was stored in my heart and in Heaven.

This Scripture in Matthew instructs us to store up our treasures in Heaven. This is where treasures are held safe from destruction of any kind. Often when we are in the throes of enjoying life with those we love and pursuing academic and professional dreams, we may not take the time to consider where or even if we are storing our treasures. It may not be until a jolt hits us such as the loss of someone or something that we pay attention. Loss is often a catalyst for assessing personal treasures.

The heart is the place where we house what we hold most dear. This includes people, moments, places, objects, victories, and sorrows. Yes, even sorrows. It may seem strange that sorrow would be considered a treasure. But the heart that holds anything of value holds everything of value. People and events that we hold close give us reasons for goodbye. Special people leave our lives due to death, military service, children leaving home, relocations, and mental departures due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. When these life altering experiences occur, hearts break and emotions flow. Sorrow comes into our hearts and this is evidence of love’s presence. Sorrow felt for someone we have known and loved is as much a part of what we feel with them on cherished golden days because sorrow is part of love.

Jesus contains for us in His heart everyone and everything we treasure. We do suffer losses on earth but in Jesus nothing is lost. Everything of value to us is held by Him. The Bible tells us We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our capacity to love God—love anyone—comes from the presence of the Lord in the heart. When we invite Jesus to be in our hearts in a personal and meaningful way, the Spirit of Christ is inside of us to love us, encourage, sustain, stir, and steady us. Jesus stays and helps us endure whatever hurts because of love, and sees us through to the other side of pain. His promises are trustworthy because His heart is pure and His intentions for people are life-giving and life-affirming. He died so we could live. He loves so we can love. With all this love we create spiritual fruit that will last and bring glory to God.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God takes loss, refines it, and infuses it with meaning beyond human comprehension but not beyond human acceptance. Grief is strong but God is stronger. When we accept His love and know that He is trustworthy, we can accept the way in which He works a grief experience out for our good. He promises in His Word that He works all things together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). In order to receive the spiritual gains from a loss, we must yield to God. We have to surrender our ways for His ways so He can bless and reveal more of Himself and His abiding love for us. God is a giver. The Giver. Therefore, we can believe by faith that losses in our lives never stop the Lord from wanting to give to us more of His heart, grace, protection, and joy. Our joy is His joy.

My handmade Rainbow Loom bracelets are now part of my treasure trove. Their value is not material; it is spiritual, and of far greater worth than human appraisals. When I see these bracelets among my jewelry, I think of the crafters; young loving hands and giving hearts eager to create and to please me. This is true for all of us when we look at the possessions we hold dear. Our personal collections of trinkets made by children and special gifts given to us by adults are symbols of affection directly connected to those we love. The memories we have made are ours to keep and savor even when people are no longer with us. We thank God for all He has granted. Our hearts can be at peace because all of the treasures of love we have known Heaven shall safeguard forevermore.

Giving God, Thank You, Lord, for the innumerable times that we have exchanged treasures in objects, moments of affection, and blessings from Your heart with those in our life’s journey. Lord, for those who grieve the loss of someone or something, in Thy loving way soothe their memories with tears of thanksgiving rather than tears of regret. Cushion the visual contact that grieving persons have with objects and photographs of the past so that there is tender grace to accompany those who must adjust to the significant absence of loved ones. Holy Spirit, inspire newness of life and the hope of the ages in those who grieve. For all believers in Thee, Lord Jesus, magnify Thy Word and promises to us so that we can utilize our time on earth wisely to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven in Your safekeeping. Into Thy giving heart, Lord Jesus, I pray, Amen.

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