Sunday, March 5, 2017

Treasures

One of my favorite memories from growing up is chasing fireflies. Around every tree in those Georgia woods or bend in the creek at my grandparents house, my brother and I would chase them with jars my grandmother had given us. Once we had caught our treasures, the real magic began. We would set them up on the kitchen counter and in the morning when we woke up, the jars would no longer have bugs in them. In their place we would see bright, shiny coins. My grandparents would then take us down to the gas station and we would use the coins to buy candy.
It may have been something as simple as pennies and dimes, but it instilled a great example of having faith in the unseen and a lesson about the true treasures in life. I think about Matthew 6:19-21, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in Heaven…Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
As much as I loved to watch the lights on those bugs flickering in the jar, I ended up getting something much more valuable by giving them up. I was quick to believe that something better would come back then, but these days I’m not so sure. I wonder when it is exactly that we start to lose our faith in the unseen. We expect the jar to be full to overflowing and instead we find that it is empty. We start to question what God is doing and then if He is even there at all. We find ourselves content with dying bugs instead of believing for the shiny coins. I think about that verse again and I know the problem, at least for me; we have our hearts in the wrong place—in the wrong treasure.
Where is your treasure? Where is your heart?
I asked myself those questions and it haunted me. I always think I store it in the eternal but then I let such earthly concerns bring me down. I say I am trusting God and then I don’t. I surrender it all to Him, only to be weighed down once again. I go through a cycle of discontentment because I’ve got multiple stashes of treasure. Maybe it is time to bring out the shovel and map and do a little digging. Until I set my heart on the right treasure, I’ll always be chasing the wrong things.
There is hope in our quest for real treasure and not losing the battle for our hearts though, because we are not doing this alone. Like my brother and I with the lightening bugs, God chases us. He chases our past, our regrets and our limits. He chases our potential, our dreams and our hopes. He chases our hearts. He watches the jar with delight in anticipation of what will come. And He holds the greatest treasure of all. I just have to make sure I am seeking Him as my treasure and not other things. In my pursuit of Christ, I cannot be distracted by all that glitters in this world. I know it is much easier said than done, but oh how it is worth it.
In looking back on my firefly memories, God molded my heart to see behind the simplicity of a childhood pastime into the bigger picture. I not only was reminded about where I am investing myself but about how I approach this big, wide world. I know too often I let myself get discouraged and I give up on my lightening bugs turning into anything at all. Worst than that, sometimes I don't even chase them anymore. I forget to trust that it's not about what I do, but about what happens behind the scenes. God holds the outcome; I just have to be willing to offer Him the jar.
As my birthday sits right around the comer I can’t help but think about my past year and this next one to come. I have a choice; so do you. We can choose to build our hearts out of eternal or earthly things. We can run after a million things that don’t matter or we can chase the heart of our Creator. We can choose to believe that hope still exists. I want to encourage you that no matter what life brings your way or how far away your dreams seem, lightening bugs still turn into coins. Deposit your treasure and your heart in the right places. As one Captain Jack Sparrow said, “All treasure isn’t silver and gold mate.” It’s a secret worth learning and putting into practice. Keep on dreaming, keep on believing and keep on chasing.
-Only Hope

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