What is Treasure
Treasure is something of great worth or value such as money, jewels, and precious metals. It can be wealth of any kind or any form; in a word—riches. But It can also be something non-material or not of a physical nature: conceptual or spiritual. So…what do you treasure?
What is your Purpose
What in your life makes you feel like it’s worth getting up in the morning? What keeps you going day after day? What do you really live for or what is your reason for living?
A Time of Despair
This pandemic we are experiencing has been a time of despair for many and the statistics are startling: income is cut off and unemployment is at a record high, businesses have been shut and some or many may not reopen, schools and places of worship are closed, in many places we are shut-in with no socializing, no sports, no concerts, no clubs, and no shopping (except for food).
Crimes are increasing. There an increase in drug abuse, strained relationships resulting in domestic violence, anxiety and alcoholism. Worst of all, there is an increase in suicides. This is indeed a time of despair with no real end in sight.
The Cause of Despair
The cause of the despair is what we depend on, what we trust in and our reason to exist has been slammed. Many are on the verge of losing everything they’ve hoped for. This is the cause of great despair.
But there is an answer. If you are a regular reader of this website, you know where I’m going…the Scriptures
The Bible is packed with wisdom and we are going to look at the wisdom of one individual in particular; King Solomon, Son of David.
When Solomon first became king, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and asked him what he desired. Solomon asked for wisdom and it was granted, and God added riches and honor that no other king possessed. [1 Kings 3:5-15]
Solomon became the wisest of all men. [1 Kings 4:29-34] He is the major author of the book of Proverbs and is the author of the book of Ecclesiastes. Both books are packed with astounding wisdom. Ecclesiastes is basically an essay on life.
In the first chapter, Solomon addresses the vanity (emptiness) of life. The reason for this emptiness will be covered later. As a result of this discovery there is evidence of despondency as he wrote in Eccl 1:17-18
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Solomon realized that the more humanistic wisdom gained, the more sorrowful he became in his spirit. So he decided to pursue another route.
Next Solomon reveals what happened when he tested the true meaning of his great accomplishments in Eccl 2:1-17
1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.
10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.
13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. KJV
Solomon started out by seeking laughter and found it to be meaningless (vs. 2). He then turned to alcohol thinking that he could continue to pursue wisdom while indulging in wine (vs. 3).
Next, he went on to acquire material things (vss. 4-10).
In verse 11, he did an evaluation and looked at all he had accomplished only to discover that it was meaningless, with no profit; it was like chasing the wind and he was left with a feeling of emptiness.
In verse 12 we see that even though he was a king and on top of the world, he had a vexed spirit.
In verses 13 and 14 he discovered that wisdom is better than folly (foolishness) yet the wise and the foolish share the same outcome; “that one event” is death.
Since both will die, in verse 15 Solomon asks: since he will end up the same as the fool, what was the value of all his wisdom? He concluded that it was all so meaningless.
In verse 16 he also concluded that both the wise man and the fool would be forgotten and the wise man wouldn’t be remembered any longer than the fool.
In verse 17 King Solomon reached the drastic conclusion that he “hated life” because everything is meaningless. Imagine: the man that literally had it all—hated life!
Now this is a sad commentary on life isn’t it? Is it any wonder why there are so many miserable rich people in the world?
Now I mentioned earlier that the more humanistic wisdom Solomon gained, the more sorrowful he became in his spirit. There are two kinds of wisdom: Godly wisdom and the wisdom of the world. Humanistic wisdom is wisdom without God and it is the commonplace in the world today.
The world is very materialistic with the focus being on things and stuff; financial gain and the accumulation thereof. So much so that when this accumulation and this focus is halted, there’s nothing left but despair. We begin to hate life and some of us decide to end it.
So the reason for this despair, this desperation, this hopelessness; is life without God. Solomon came to the realization of this through his experience. Later he wrote in Eccl 3:11
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. NKJV
Solomon acknowledged that God has placed eternity in the hearts of man. Even though man lives in a world of time, we have Intimations or hints of eternity. Instinctively and unconsciously we think in terms of eternity or forever. But we just can’t figure it all out and when we limit our focus and place it entirely on the finite—the natural-material things we leave a void that cannot be filled. No amount of alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, movies, television, videos, travel, or work can fill this void. When we focus on these things, it’s like chasing the wind. It’s “vanity and vexation of spirit.”
The Answer to Despair
Is there an answer? Of course there is! Scripture gives us sound advice how to avoid this empty state.
Solomon reached the conclusive answer. But before we get to that lets look at some more Scriptural wisdom.
2 Cor 4:18
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
So the things, the stuff that I listed above are temporal-temporary and have limited value. When we die, we can’t take them with us. Even while we are living their value is temporary. Material things don’t last and we often lose interest in them before they cease to exist. Temporal things also include hardships, trials and sufferings which are also not to be our main focus making them our demise. We are to deal with them and keep it moving.
But the things that are unseen-the eternal things, such as Christ and our eternal destination; those are the things we are to focus on. With this mindset, we will not despair when the temporal things are threatened. Therefore, this void that God has placed in our hearts need to be filled with Christ—our Savior
Let’s look at some advice from the wisest man that ever walked the earth—Jesus!
First, we have a warning. Luke 12:14
Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
I could write an entire article on this one verse alone! Anyway, contained in this Scripture is a stern warning against covetousness which is an intense craving and desire for more and includes both material things and fleshly indulgence. Jesus wants us to realize that life isn’t measured by how much we own; our possessions—a beautiful home, the latest clothes, a new car, property, money and wealth. While these things are nice to have, they are not the whole of life. There are happy poor folks who are probably happier than the rich—as we saw with King Solomon.
This Spirit of covetousness has infiltrated the world and is a principal instrument in Spiritual Warfare. But just as we reboot our computers for a fresh start, we must reboot our minds and flush out this spirit. For more on Spiritual Warfare, read the article: All About Spiritual Warfare.
Next we have some advice.
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Jesus is addressing the fact that there is no security in material things. Material things can be destroyed by elements of nature (moth or rust), weather, corona virus, etc. and are poor investments. The best investments are treasures in heaven because they are the only ones that are not subject to loss. The treasure we put our trust in is where our hearts are.
We must keep in mind that we cannot do both completely for Jesus said in Matt 6:24: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon represents money and the natural things it buys. We cannot put our sole focus on both—period.
So after all was said and done, Solomon reached a conclusion and ended his essay on life.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Bottom line: our duty is to fear God and keep His commandments. Our duty is to keep our focus on that.
And to conclude with a Word from our sponsor—Jesus Christ: Matt 6:31-33
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
So brothers and sisters let us not despair but pray; let us not devalue our lives to the point that we deem them worthless because of our earthly circumstances. We must be wise and not be fools as the worldly. But let us keep our focus on the things above: the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and not on things of the earth and He will take care of us. Amen.
Questions comments or concerns are welcomed below.