Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.
‘TREASURE’ IS BOTH A VERB AND A NOUN
If you remember your Primary School English lessons, you might recall that a verb is a “doing” word (I run, I am running), or a “being” word (“I am.” “You are.”) and a noun is a person, place, or thing. Some words, depending on how they are used, such as run can be both a verb (“I run.”) or a noun (“I am going to the run hosted by Parkrun.”). Treasure is another such verb/noun word. We treasure something as an action or feeling (a verb); or, we can store our treasure (as a noun). Jesus taught that it was necessary for His followers to understand how to treat our treasure, and why it was even important to know what to treasure:
¶“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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus taught that true treasure is not anything we can have or achieve in this life – but it is something we must do. We should store up real, lasting treasure in heaven by treasuring the will of God for our lives. It is in seeking to do the will of God, which begins with loving God and loving our neighbour as ourself, that we discover that real treasure are literally priceless. We were created to seek this treasure. To love the Source of all love and to share His love as our own by sacrificially loving others with our hearts, our time, our talents, and our temporal treasures. When you find someone doing this, you have found someone who has discovered the kind of treasure that Jesus was talking about in this Matthew 6 passage. Jesus stunned His original audience by stating that this treasure literally out-values all earthly treasures! Take a seat, close your eyes for a minute to still your soul, and drink in these shocking words by Jesus:
¶ “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.
Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
The man in this parable is prepared to forego everything he has to enter into a relationship with Jesus – the Ultimate Treasure! This man was not buying this Ultimate Treasure, or even exchanging all his wealth and possessions for it – because God the Father offers it freely to all who will repent and trust Christ! This is the essence of low cost living! Someone else has paid the debt we all owe to God and then offered us riches beyond measure. In essence, this Matthew 13:44 parable is about trust. The man who sold all that he had to buy the field where the Kingdom of God’s Treasure was, was actually relinquishing his trust in himself. The one who turns to Christ as their Ultimate Source of salvation, hope, and provision, is declaring their total trust in Christ.
WHO WANTS TO BE RICH AND FAMOUS?
For many people, being rich and famous is their very purpose of life. For many other people the purpose of their life is to be happy and healthy. I think both groups of people are misguided. Both groups may be sincerely pursuing noble things, but they are not pursuing the Ultimate Purpose for their existence.
And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
Jesus warned that making money or fame your life’s purpose (your idol) in which you religiously trust to give you purpose and meaning was a recipe for spiritual death. Ironically, the person who seeks Him first often ends up in this life and in the next having more than enough and even plenty to share with others, being truly happy and respected by the few who get to know them.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ¶ “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
THE MAP TO LOW COST LIVING
Down through the centuries millions of Christians have been martyred for their faithful witness to Christ’s Lordship. After Jesus raised Lazarus from dead I wonder if Lazarus ever experienced any fear again? Athanasius tells us of the Christians who had been recently martyred in his era and states that through their faith in Christ and God the Father’s gift of eternal life, these early Christians were fearless witnesses. Their persecutors often remarked that their threats of torture and death rarely dissuaded these Christians from preaching about and sharing Christ with others. Today, during this temporary cost-of-living crisis, we need to be reminded that the value of our lives is not measured by the size of our bank account, how many social media followers we have, what type of car we drive, the postcode of our house, or our list of achievements. The value of our lives in measured by what, or in Whom, we are trusting to give us our purpose, meaning, laws for life. If it is anything or anyone other than Jesus the Christ, Lord of Heaven and Earth, our souls are bankrupt and broken. But if it is that we have turned our lives over to Christ as the Saviour and God in Whom we trust and are committed to living a focused life in which we lay up in heaven treasure; that will last forever. Such a believer makes Christ and His Church their priority. Such a believer is able to do this at a relatively low cost despite these temporary cost of living crises that we seem to be all experiencing at the moment!
Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
First Timothy 4:7b-8
Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.
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