4 "Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; because you know better, stop! 5 As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky." (Prov. 23:4–5, CSB)

From today's reading, "earthly riches" are an obvious trap. They promise happiness, but the problem is, they are fleeting. They don't last. At least, they don't last as long as we might hope. Of course, we have "needs" in life (e.g., food, shelter, a job, education, money, etc.), and the Lord knows it. Since He knows we need these things, we should be diligent about pursuing them, with the Lord's help, doing our best to provide such things for our families, being thankful and a good steward with these things when we find them, and helping each other with these things, too. But these "needs" aren't the same thing as "earthly riches," so that's the rub, or the first thing to make note of.

While I was thinking about this, the New Testament response to this proverb kept coming to me. It is found in what Jesus says in Matthew:

19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:19–21, CSB)

The real question here, then, is this: What kind of treasure are we really talking about? If it's not "earthly riches," then how can we define what our hearts are truly longing for?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it clear that the treasure we should be looking for, the "true riches" of heaven, is the assurance that we have in our hearts when we know that we belong to the Lord. This assurance starts when we first recognize that we are truly "poor in Spirit," that is, apart from God, we are poor and bankrupt in and of ourselves. We've got nothing. When we recognize the reality of our poverty, and we receive the treasure that He is offering to us in Jesus, only then will we find the connection that our hearts truly long for: a grace relationship with Him. Thus, our ultimate "need" will have been met with the ultimate gift of relationship with a good and holy God!

In sum, there are no "earthly riches" that can compare with the assurance of knowing that, in Jesus, God loves and accepts you. A treasure, indeed! (cf. Matt 13:44).

by Eric Fields, Elder

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