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Our Real Treasure

by Michelle Wilson on May 06, 2022

As I shared with you in my letter last week, I’ve been meditating on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 and asking God to bring greater happiness into my life. This week, I’ve been chewing every morning on these words:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
                                Matt. 5:3 (NIV)

Recalling that “blessed” means “happy, this almost seems to read as if it is saying that people are happy when they are sad, which seems nonsensical. It’s hard to imagine this is the plain sense of what Jesus is saying. Though Jesus does often like to phrase things in a jarring way to get our attention and get us to ask more questions about important truths. A key to deeper understanding of this statement may be to dial in on the reference to poverty. 

I’m reminded that Jesus says just a little later in the same sermon, 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
                            Matt. 6:19-21

Material wealth is temporary. If we are preoccupied with collecting it, we’ll miss out on the real and lasting treasure that comes from a life well lived. Matthew seems to be making a similar point here in the Beatitudes about pleasure. Pleasure is good thing. But if we have too much of it, it too can be a distraction. Have you ever gotten so engrossed in a movie you were watching that it seemed like you almost forgot you were at the theater at all, and it was a little startling to come back to reality afterward? If everything in life were constantly going our way, and we were free to flit from one pleasant experience to another without a care in the world, it might be just that easy to forget the bigger picture around us and stop bothering to pursue the heart of God.

Meditating on the this passage today, I’m reminded that times of struggle and suffering are an opportunity to remember where our real treasure is and to refocus our hearts on what matters most. When we find ourselves feeling broken hearted and despairing, we have the opportunity to put our trust and our hope in God alone and to find that God is indeed faithful to meet us in that place and to show us the way forward. And as we walk in obedience to God in the midst of our struggles, we grow closer to God and more like God in God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness. This is real treasure that brings real happiness that lasts forever. 

I pray today that God blesses both you and me with many pleasures and great joy. But at the same time, when we do feel poor in spirit, whether that time is now or some time in the future, I pray that we would be able to count even our hardship as blessing and use it as an opportunity to seek God, to be met by God,  and to pursue the deeper and more lasting happiness of God’s kingdom. 

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