"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." - C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Of Treasure and Trinkets

I glanced in her direction and our eyes met.  I can’t remember for sure, but I think she smiled at me before I turned away.

I don’t go to the mall very often, and on this particular day I was ready to go home.  As I walked through the sliding glass doors, I noticed a man quickly entering the store - but he was not there to shop.

“Security, ma’am, please come with me,” he said to her, showing his I.D.  I turned to look, but our eyes didn’t meet this time; she had already turned back toward the store.

It happened so fast – it really did.  But did it for her?  I have wondered about her.  How long had she been in that store?  When did she decide to take something didn’t belong to her?  What aroused the security officers’ suspicions - were they watching her?  Did they see her pick it up, put it down, and pick it up again in a dispute with her conscience?

Hebrews 11 says that faith is “being certain of what we do not see,” and then tells us of heroes past who lived by that truth.  After recounting the great faith of these men and women, Hebrews 12:1 says that we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.”

To be honest, I don’t know exactly what that means.  Can those who have gone to heaven before us see us now?  Do these heavenly witnesses watch us as we finger the valuables of this world, knowing we are toying with making the things of this world our treasure?

Long ago, Moses walked this earth as we did, viewing the world through earthly eyes, just as we do now.  Hebrews 11:26 says that he “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”  He knew that his earthly perspective did not see everything.

Now that reward he was looking toward is his.  Now Moses, along with the heavenly witnesses, can truly see.  If only we could see as they do.

Maybe they are witnesses not of what we are doing now, but of what He has already finished.  Witnesses of His glory.  His grace.  His power.  His love.  We learn from their lives and their stories that we can have faith because He is faithful.  Yet we repeat the same sins that they once did, going after the trinkets of this world instead of the treasure of God over and over and over again.  And so they watch us, their voices now inaudible to our earthly ears, but the echoes of their stories still ringing all around.

I don’t know if they can watch me – or even if they would be interested.  But I do know that I was able to watch their lives, either in person or through stories passed down to me.  As I remember their legacy, I press on, waiting for the day when this chapter of my story joins theirs – when we have finally received our reward of true treasure, when what is mortal is swallowed up by life (2 Corinthians 5:4).  The treasure will be ours, and any trinket we once thought was worth our trouble will fade away forever.

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19, emphases added).

Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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