The Treasure of Seasons

 

Matthew 6:19-24

19 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where the moth and rust destroy and where the thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.

 

We all have experience seasons of brokenness or times of great trials and tribulations or periods of suffering. We have also heard that we are going through this suffering in order that God can bless you. In most cases, whether someone is telling us this or that it is our hope that the reward we receive after the suffering ends is a gift or a “thing”. This gift or thing could be a car, house, money, new job, new status in life, increased comfort or just something we didn’t have before; whatever we lacked before it is our hope to receive it later. Most of this comes from our understanding of the story of Job. I have even written a few blog posts about the story titled: “Job: More Than A Conclusion”. So what does Job and his story have to do with Seasons or Matthew 6:19-24?

Before we look at this we must for look at a part of the Gospel. We know the Gospel is that the Word of God became flesh in Jesus Christ, lived the perfect life we couldn’t, died a sinners death in our place, was buried and rose three days later giving his righteousness that he earned to those who believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior. But why? This is the part of the Gospel we have to look at before any of this makes sense to us. In the book of second Corinthians chapter five, starting at the seventeenth verse we read the Apostle Paul telling the church at Corinth that anyone who believes in Christ as their Savior is a new creature and that the old has passed away and that the new has come. Similarly in the sixth chapter of Romans as Paul talks about baptism, he describes it as being buried with Christ in his death and risen to life with Christ. Our salvation is one from death in sin to life in the spirit. The one becoming new just as the dead of winter season gives way to life of the spring season. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 goes on to example how this Gospel affects us as it brings about this newness. Our newness is brought about by God by his grace as God reconciles us to himself and now we have a ministry or a task to spread this news of reconciliation. Reconciliation is about restoring broken relationships, making two things compatible, and righting a wrong. The gospel is the news of this happening through Christ. We have been entrusted with this news making us messengers or ambassadors in a foreign world and through us God is making his appeal to the world to be reconciled to God. But how to we bring the message of Christ to those who do not know Jesus?

 

We have been encouraged throughout the bible to not be surprised when suffering comes, we are even told to expect it. Peter says that we are being refined like gold in the fiery furnace so that our faith is proven genuine. Hebrews 12 tells us that it can be God disciplining his children for our sanctification as we are being treated as true children of God. We usually see this moments as attacks of Satan, thus our bad seasons. We associate these times to the testing of Job and then we assume the end result of Job being blessed with more stuff than he had before. In Colossians 1:24 Paul talks about filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. This is not saying that Christ’s death on the cross for our sins were incomplete. What he is saying is that he is displaying those sufferings to those whom Christ died for. Meaning, that we should not allow risks, fear, and obstacles stop us from loving people. It means that in the midst of our suffering, trials, tribulations, hurt, pain, adversities, struggles with sin, failure, and everything this world throws at us we still walk by faith, we still love others, we still worship God, we still encourage others, we still give to those in need, we do as Christ did on the cross; we worship and prayer for others as we are being refined in the season. This is what Christ displayed and we put him on display when we love God and love others as we sacrifice; this is “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son”. So are seasons are continually times of taking up our cross and following Jesus. Our seasons are our continually losing our lives for Jesus in order to save our live. But what is the treasure in the season? Is it the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

The treasure talked about in the above verse has a relationship to the heart. But it’s not the type of heart we think of, which is usually the emotions or emotional parts of our personality. The God and the Hebrews saw the heart much differently.

We often associate the heart with emotions such as love and kindness as in “He has a good heart”. This is also true with the Hebrews who saw the heart as the seat of emotion. But unlike us they also saw the heart as the seat of thought whereas we see the brain as the seat of thought. To the ancient Hebrews the heart was the mind including all thoughts including emotions. When we are told to love God with all our heart (Deut 6:5) it is not speaking of an emotional love but to keep our emotions and all our thoughts working for him. The first picture in this Hebrew word is a shepherd staff and represents authority as the shepherd has authority over his flock. The second letter is the picture of the floor plan of the nomadic tent and represents the idea of being inside as the family resides within the tent. When combined they mean “the authority within”.

Jeff A. Benner

 

So knowing that the heart is the seat of thought, emotion, and volition; so the relationship with treasure actually gives direction and purpose to the heart. What controls the heart, the heart loves and obeys. Scripture calls us not to conform to this world, to be in it and not of the world. Along with this we are called to renew our minds. Given what the heart means we are being conformed into Christ’s image as we are to be imitators of Christ as well as to bear the fruit of his spirit once we are connected to Him, the true vine. So if our heart is to be like Jesus Christ then our treasure must be what He treasures, right? We know that what Jesus treasures is the work of the Father, the glory of the Father and the love of the Father. What Christ seeks is the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Jesus even told his disciples not to glory over the spiritual gifts as they command demons but to glory in that their names are written in heaven. It was the separation from the Heavenly Father that produced such agony in Jesus as he became sin and hung on the cross. It was the relationship with the Father that he sought after in an obedience of faith that led to death. Christ treasured God, Christ was the first commandment. But Jesus lived a life filled with various seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter to complete the relationship, to regain the treasure and to send out that very same treasure to everyone else.  Given how Jesus describes the heart that seeks earthly treasure, a treasure that will not last nor can be depended on; why do we always assume that our reward of enduring suffering seasons will result in what is not greater than Heaven? This reveals the darkness of our eyes. 2 John 2:16 tells us that in the world where earthly treasures can be found we have the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and none of these things comes from God. Our fleshy lust really start with what the eyes sees as well as our pride of life. These things fill our bodies with darkness, so why would God give us what corrupts us? We seek these things because we think that they will save us.

 

Our seasons are deaths and resurrections as God is refining us to bear in our bodies the love of Christ on the Cross of his gospel. There are those who watch us because we proclaim to know a God who has overcame the world. There are little ones who watch our steps through the fire and they look to see if we will give into Nebuchadnezzar and bow to the gods of this world and put Jesus Christ in the closet. As the flames get hotter the world watches to see if we will put God away see the world will stop pressuring us. So we look to Job for encouragement as we look directly to the abundance of things he received. We go through our seasons and never notice that the harder we pray and the longer we wait on the Lord that our prayers are changing. We look to the results of Job wrongly as we miss the point Satan makes in the beginning and our eyes prove him right at times. We miss the fact that God changed Job’s heart and makes him a new man that is different from the Job at the start of Satan’s charge.

 

Jesus is about changing our hearts so that they don’t lust and desire the perishable, our seasons are about Christ. Our seasons are gospel driven and the treasure is God. At the end of Job’s suffering he no longer needed to hear a reason for it all from God. Job no longer looked to his good deeds to justify himself. Job no longer needed confirmation from others to help him. Job no longer needed the presences of God’s blessings to fill secure. All Job needed was to know that God is God. Job laid up treasures in heaven and where his treasure is his heart found rest and grace with the everlasting God. God is changing what we treasure because what we treasure will rule our hearts and God is always after our hearts as we are being made like Christ. Our “seasons” are the gospel personified to make the dead alive with a heart that pumps the blood of Christ all over our entire lives and a heart that beats in rhythm with God’s will. A changed heart that is after God can ask anything and do all things because a heart for Christ will live to glorify the Son, that humble heart, God will exalt.

 

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