Youth MInistry

Practical Christian Living

The insatiable quest for treasures is as old as human origins. From the time one gets the ability to think, he starts desiring for treasures. The earth we live in is rich with immeasurable minerals, metals and precious gems. Apart from that, there is always an invitation from power, money and worldly pleasures. This world praises those who possess these worldly treasures at most and calls them “smart”. Knowingly or unknowingly, the entire human race has been enslaved by this vanity. In all their life, they run behind these vanities till they will fall off like the flowers of grass!!

On the other hand, the Holy Bible looks at these “treasures” from a completely different angle. In Matthew 6:19, the Bible warns that these worldly treasures are subject to ruin and are temporary and Jesus continues to introduce another treasure which lasts forever and beyond destruction, which is “heavenly treasures”.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

 We can have a parallel read for Mathew 6:19 in Luke 12:33 which says, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys”

Infact, Jesus Christ is redefining the meaning for “treasures”.  People at his time also dearly treasured all materialistic wealth. But, at His famous “sermon on mount” He clearly teaches His disciples that all earthly possessions are corruptible and are vanity. Definitely we can read through these verses as “if anyone is behind these corruptible possessions, they should have a corruptible mind set too, which is against the Kingdom of God ”. Continuing on this topic, Jesus is pointing towards the incorruptible and eternal treasures – “the heavenly treasures” and asking to replace our hearts from vanity and focus on the heavenly treasures.

We may wonder, what treasures did Jesus speak about and if we want to understand it, we should have a deep dip to Luke 12:33… Jesus says to “SELL your worldly possessions and give it to the poor” . Does Jesus really mean it to SELL the worldly possessions and donate it to the poor? The answer is YES, he literally meant it!! If anyone wants to be His real disciple, he/she should learn to live without a bank account!! I know, I sound a bit orthodox and weird, but it is the reality!! We should bank with God, not on this earth. Every Christian should carry the fragrance of Christ and reflect His face to the world… Look at Jesus, being the supreme authority of this whole universe, He took the humble form to redeem mankind, on a more personal note, He humbled himself for me!! He showed us humanity, love and care in its fullness.

It is more clear in the parable of Good Samaritan. You can see every attribute of Jesus Christ reflecting in this Parable. Hope, charity, love, diligence and obedience are treasured in Heaven!! In that parable, the good Samaritan was just forgetting himself and his possessions for a stranger!! He poured oil and wine to the wounds of a strange man and took him to the innkeeper and paid whatever money he was having and offered, if anything extra he will return it as he comes back!! Literally, he emptied all his worldly possessions for a wounded stranger!! As we close our hearts and eyes to worldly possession, our vision to eternity will be clear. Then we will start seeing each other with compassion and humility. So, how can you invest in heaven?

1. See others with the eyes of Christ’s heart: All three of the men in Luke 10 – the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan – saw the man lying by the side of the road. Having hard hearts, the priest and the Levite walked on unaffected by his plight. They saw superficially but the Samaritan saw his need through the eyes of Christ’s heart. Jesus reminded His disciples in Mark 8:17-21 about the heart hardened by unbelief which prevents them from having spiritual insight.

2. Be compassionate towards others: As a follower of Christ, approaching a person with his/her past is forbidden. We too were sinners and dead in our trespasses ( Eph 2:1-3) and were separated from God and had no hope ( Eph 2:11-13), but Christ came down without remembering our past and He gave us hope and redemption. It reminds us to be compassionate for those who are still separated from God and in spiritual need. We will move from simply “seeing” a person’s need, to acting on their behalf, from a heart of compassion.

3. Make a personal touch: We should come back to the Christain culture where it teaches to reach out and touch the untouched!! Being a saint and keeping His life on an ultimate holiness, Jesus Christ, while on his earthly ministry, he used to reachout to the outcasts, like sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes etc. Reaching out to touch the untouched is not an easy task at all and can be messy, but Christ expects it from us!!

Jesus illustrates this in Matthew 8:3. Leprosy was the most feared disease in New Testament culture. Lepers were required to live outside the city and cry out “Unclean! Unclean!” whenever anyone approached them, so that no one else would be infected or made unclean. Yet Jesus showed such compassion to one leper who asked to be made clean; He reached out His hand and touched him. We know Jesus could heal simply by speaking words, but by deliberately touching this man, He was setting an example for us. We must be willing to make personal touches which can change a life, even when it’s messy or difficult.

4. Giving up own comfort for others:The Samaritan was on a journey, with an intended destination. He put the man on his own beast, willing to give up his own comfort, and changed his plans to meet the need at hand.

Jesus also gave up His comfortable place in heaven, laying aside His glory to bring salvation to us (Philippians 2:1-11). We are called to imitate His attitude. Whether it’s giving up our worldly comforts, or stepping outside of our comfort zone, a gospel-centered good Samaritan is willing to suffer for the sake of proclaiming Christ.

The apostle Paul is a wonderful example of a man willing to give up all worldly comforts in order to spread the gospel. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, he describes the relationship between affliction and comfort, explaining that God expects us to leverage our uncomfortable experiences to bring comfort to others. Paul experienced burdens so harsh that he despaired of life! Yet he used those experiences to comfort and serve the people to whom he was sent to share the gospel. He gave up a comfortable life as an honored Pharisee, trading his position of earthly success for a life spent traveling, tent-making, and preaching. He did what was necessary to care for those who needed to hear about Christ.

5. Give generously: In Philippians 4:15-19 Apostle Paul is reminding us a very important Biblical lesson of sharing our earthly blessings to meet others’ needs. Remember as a Christian, you are not supposed to keep on focusing and increasing your earthly possessions, instead the Bible teaches to share it to meet others needs and your needs will be taken care of by your father in heaven at the right time.

When the Samaritan arrived at the inn, he opened his wallet and covered the expense of the man’s room and board, as well as his own extra expenses incurred by a detour in his journey. He himself took care of the man – bathing and bandaging his wounds, getting food for him to eat, and settling him into a bed to rest. Not only did he pay for the current expenses, but he reached deeper into his pocket and paid for the future care of the man, committing to whatever expense might be incurred until the man was back on his feet. The Samaritan shared what he had. He gave his best. He was willing to invest his own resources to meet the needs.

6. Involve others: Samaritan recognized that he could not care for the injured man by himself. He had to continue his journey. He did what was right at the time, meeting the immediate needs of the man, but also gave thought to what would happen to the man after he left. He recruited the help of the innkeeper. He wisely involved others.

1 Corinthians 3:5-9 reminds us that as Christ-followers, we are dependent upon one another. Even though we are one through the Spirit of God who indwells us, we possess different gifts, abilities, talents, and passions. God uses each one of us in different ways, to accomplish His kingdom purposes, and to grow each of us into spiritual maturity. Just as the Samaritan was wise enough to recruit the gifts and resources of the innkeeper to continue the ministry of meeting needs in the injured man’s life, so we are to involve others as we learn to pray for, serve, and share Christ.

7. Showing Mercy: In Matthew 5:7, Jesus is teaching about how important it is to be merciful in our walk of life. We receive mercy when we ourselves are merciful (Matthew 5:7). The most merciful thing we can do is be willing to speak the eternal, powerful, life-giving words of the gospel into the hearts and lives of those in spiritual need. As we show mercy in our conversations, our actions, and our deeds, we will present a true picture of God’s love for the unbeliever.

If we can summarize all deeds of the Samaritan into a single word, that word is “mercy”… Mercy is showing kindness and favor when it is not earned or deserved. Mercy is given as a gift. It is not giving someone what they may deserve, or what we feel is their “due.” To show mercy is to act in compassion, putting the needs of someone else ahead of our own.

Our God is rich in mercy Ephesians 2:4 and He expects the same from His ambassadors on this world. In 1 Timothy 6:17-19 Apostle Paul is commanding all Christians not put their hope and trust on these uncertain wealth of this world and he is asking to find hope in God and to do good which is the master key to open Heavenly treasures “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

Every soul has been counted as the treasure in heaven and saving souls for His Kingdom is the treasure investment for every Christian. Living like Christ and growing till Christ is the secret for this treasure hunt and it is the essence of Christianity.

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