Treasures on Earth
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I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:19-20).
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In 1982, archaeologists working at the site of an 8th-century home in Capernaum made a remarkable discovery. As they dug down through centuries of accumulated debris, they determined that the occupants had been people of modest means; their belongs were few and simple. But as they began removing paving stones from the floor to access a lower level, they were astonished to find a cache of 282 gold dinars. Scholars surmise that the home originally had been occupied by a wealthy owner who had hidden the coins, then disappeared. The later occupants of the site had no idea of the fabulous wealth that lay just inches below their feet.
Before you go ripping out the floorboards in your home, take a moment to reflect on two major lessons from this bit of history.
First, it reminds us once again that we can't take it with us. The archaeologists were able to determine that the home where this treasure was hidden likely had been leveled in the earthquake of AD 746. Was the wealthy owner killed in that earthquake? Or was he the victim of a marauding gang of bandits? Or did he die a natural death without revealing the whereabouts of his life savings? We have no idea of the details of his disappearance, but we do know this much: He didn't take the money with him. He left this world the same way he came in: empty-handed. No matter how hard we work and how much we save, whether we bury it under our house or entrust it to an investment firm, our portfolio will stay here after we leave. That fact should temper our passion for accumulating earthly possessions.
Second, the story of a poor family living so close to life-changing riches without ever enjoying them illustrates the role that the Bible plays in the lives of many people today. Here is a book that contains a wealth of wisdom that could transform their lives for the better--but they don't bother to read it. Like that poor family in Capernaum who never knew the value of what lay right under their feet, people are so busy scratching out a living that they are clueless to what the Bible could do for them.
Wherever the original owner of those 282 gold coins is now, they no longer mean anything to him. Someday everything you own will mean nothing to you, either. Think about it.