After my father’s funeral last week Karen and I had to travel back to Fayetteville (about two hours by car) to get some important papers so I could start my father’s Veteran Administration benefit (a widow’s pension) for my mother. But now that I think about it even when my father was still in the hospital (the last two or three days near his earthly end) I started thinking about all of the things we hold near and dear in our lives, while we are alive and well, that have little use to us when on our death bed. All of the things we prize as our own, all of the things we work so hard for all of our life have no value to us when it is time to stand before God. And make no mistake my friend we all have a rendezvous with God some day to give account of our deeds on earth. After his death as I looked around my father’s office (he had a bed in his office and Karen and I would often sleep there) and around the big house he built less than two years ago all I could think of was how my father’s things has out lived him. When my teacher Charles Haun died in July 1996, he gave Jake Luffy some luggage and I thought I wonder who has Charles’ Bible? Even something as important as our Bible probably will out live us. How strange and surreal it was to see his lift-chair in the living room, all of his U.S. Marine Corps mementos, and all of his John Wayne things yet he is no more. Now memories of him and these things will keep him alive in our heart as long as we are alive, but for him all of these things are behind him and I thought only the things he did for the Lord are his today everything else was lost the day he departed the earth. So too shall it be with us. Please understand me well here, I am not saying we are not to collect things, even nice things, but what I am saying is what we collect will be left behind when we leave this world and only the things we do for God will have any eternal impact in our lives. Then the words of Jesus came sharply to me, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) From these verses the Lord drew my attention to the word “treasures.” We all know what treasures are right: gold, money, land, jewels, well that is not what Jesus was talking about. How vain and pompous we can be at times to presume to know what the Scriptures are really saying without taking time to study them, not to mention our selfishness and greed to go after lucre of this world. Oh Lord forgive us here. But, if you look at the word “treasures” (Strong’s #2344) in both verses 19 and 20, it means “the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up.” The third meaning of the word I believe is more what Jesus was saying “storehouse, repository, or magazine (for ammunition)” suddenly all of this began to make sense to me. “Treasures” are not things of wealth they are the place to put things of wealth in. Now in verse 21 we find out what the place in which our precious and costly things are to be laid up or stored, our heart. Jesus twice referred to “yourself.” We are not to lay up our gold, land, jewels, etc., and all of the things we accumulate over our many years, but we are to lay up the true riches the true treasures of God: His joy (not happiness which is situational dependent), peace (that passes all understanding), mercy (where we really forgive our enemies), longsuffering (enduring even the unlovely of God’s children) , wisdom (knowing when not to speak), meekness (gentle and lowly like Jesus), forgiveness (extending mercy when grace will do), and so much more in our heart. Solomon said it this way, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:20-27) We are to lay up those things that are of eternal value. It is only the things we do for God while on earth that are of any real value. What are the things we are putting into our heart? Are we after things of this world or after things of God? Believe it or not the answer is easy to see. All we have to do is take a good look at what we say, who we hang around, what we go after in life, and how we spend our money? Our check book can be a real revelation of our faithfulness and dedication to God. Out of our mouth speaks our heart. If I want to know you all I have to do is just let you run off at the mouth and you will tell me what is in your heart and the reverse cutting edge of this truth what is not in your heart. What we allow in our heart will be what we shall be. What shall we leave behind when we are gone? What will our legacy be? Our legacy and what we leave behind will be what we have put into our heart. Also in Proverbs we read, “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: 7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” (Proverbs 23:6) In the Greek the beginning of verse seven is translated, “as a gate swings wide open to, so is he.” The “gate” here is our heart and all through out the Bible our “gate” (our heart) is always a place of decision. And whatever we allow behind our heart (our gate) we shall be that. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate” and is not Jesus standing at the door (our gate) of our heart knocking to enter in? Make no mistake my friend whatever we allow behind our heart, whatever we fill our heart up with we shall be that (and only that) and that is what we will leave behind when we depart this world. Another area we can gage our self is our testimony. Now do not ever think our testimony is what we say about our self or even about our relationship with the Lord, oh no my friend. Our testimony, our real testimony is what other’s see and hear (and say to a certain degree) of our lives. I could tell you how intelligent I am, how skinny I am, how charismatic I am, but the truth will be known when you see and talk with me. Many denominational Bible teachers twist Proverbs 23:7 to say, “whatever we think in our heart we will be that” how foolish. This is the folly of the positive thinking doctrines. I can think I am a car all day long and even sit in our garage, but that will never make me a car. Our testimony is what others see us do and hear us say. This is the testimony we will leave behind when we depart this world. How much of our lives were consumed with caring for people, sharing the Gospel message, feeling pain when someone you knew hurt, and wanting to know God and His ways?

Let us take Paul’s words in Ephesians to heart when he said, “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” (Ephesians 5:14-19) Please notice we are to be filled with the Spirit and making melody in our heart, not in church or on some TV program, adding to our treasure box God’s real “treasures.” Today let us not be so concerned about collecting things, laying up things for a rainy day, or our 401K and money market accounts, but let us be concerned about filling our storehouse with eternal things, things that have impact in this life and our next life to come.