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“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth [. . .] but lay 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 will be also.” – Matthew 6: 19-21
A treasure cache holds special allure for most folks. As a child, I loved finding prized trinkets in boxes of cereal. Today’s sophisticated treasure hunts, however, might include GPS scavenger quests, “geochaching,” or even metal detector seek-and-find efforts.
Although we begin a new series in our next column, during recent months we explored the treasure trove of wisdom Jesus identified for his followers in the preface to his “Sermon on the Mount.” In the sermon’s introduction known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus revealed standards of character, conduct, and spiritual outcomes. Jesus also revealed that “the kingdom of God is in your midst” and would be brought to light through his ministry of redemption (Luke 17: 23).
In reviewing the Beatitudes, we realize that the crescendo of blessedness outlined by Jesus fosters fundamental responses required from Christians who are serious about loving God and serving people. The Beatitude behaviors presented by Jesus are like a daisy-chain: each loving response by a believer augments and strengthens additional actions.
Thus, we cannot be satisfied with being only poor in spirit, mildly meek, or merely merciful. Through Christ at work in us, we must strive furthermore for pure hearts, peace, and righteousness as we also mourn over sin and withstand persecution.
Paralleling these standards which Jesus profiled are also the gifts of the Holy Spirit which empower believers to grow in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5: 22). Subsequently, the fruit of the Spirit undergirds, enhances, and amplifies God’s crescendo of grace and redemption through Jesus.
For believers who seek God’s kingdom and righteousness, their blessings are spiritual treasures in heaven. Blessedly, the sins we mourn will be forgiven as Jesus comforts and covers us with his righteousness. We will inherit more than the earth; we will inhabit the kingdom of heaven eternally. We will be called children of God—and we will see God.
In gratitude, we pray the words of the Apostle Paul: “May [we] be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified [us] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1: 11-14). Amen.
Kay Henry is a columnist for the Claremore Progress. All Bible quotations are from “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version” (ESV), unless otherwise noted.
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