They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
Acts of the Apostles 2:46-47 NLT
Imagine how many people feel like their lives are missing joy and love and true friendship. Have you ever felt this way? The world’s constant marketing of “look out for yourself” and “do whatever YOU think is right” ends up boxing us up into isolated, separated lives. This is because when our desires are for ourselves, it puts us at odds and in conflict with the desires of others. The world becomes little more than convincing or manipulating someone else to agree with your desires and bartering and trading and working, hoping that we can build up enough leverage and wealth to control others so that we get what we want. This is a me against the world attitude that the world whispers in our ears.
I see each week what this attitude results in when I visit the jail. I see each week what this attitude results in when I encounter business people willing to “win at all costs”. I see each week what this attitude produces in those attempting to leverage religion for their own gain. There is little difference in the people’s motives, even if they look different on the outside. All of these people’s hearts are lost, divided, and focused on self – proudly seeking things, power, wealth, honor and rewards for themselves. Those creatures are very common, you can find them everywhere, and there lives are of little true value. When they enter the grave at the end of their days, will they have anything that can go with them into eternity?
But there does exist a rare and precious creature. One who has always been on the very verge of extinction, but has always been able to find a way to stay alive and multiply. There are many others who try to imitate these elusive and valuable creatures, examining their practices and traditions, and clothing themselves similarly to try to appear outwardly like a genuine article – but they are missing the all important ingredient on the inside that actually makes them precious and rare. And there are many others that hate and despise these rare creatures who hold such value in the eyes of their creator, not realizing that it is not the rare creatures that they hate, but the creator himself – as they deny the very one that can touch them and transform them into something different and precious and valuable as well.
And these rare and precious creatures are not so much aware of their own value as they are aware of the value of their creator. They aren’t altogether sure why He should bestow upon them the honor of carrying His treasures, of carrying what is valuable to Him, because they just see themselves as the vessels, as the shipping crates used for transporting what is His. They don’t see value in their selves other than the opportunity to participate in carrying this treasure for their creator. It isn’t a burdensome responsibility or obligation they are forced into fulfilling – nor is it a job that they earned by their own efforts – so they are simply humbled by the opportunity to serve the only one who has anything of real and lasting value, and the only one that can place anything within them of value to carry.
You see, these creatures are a peculiar and rare stock indeed, because while the others are carrying the rot and decay of disease and death and thinking they are valuable, and while others have thought themselves to be carrying the true treasures and thought themselves valuable, the only ones that are truly valuable are the ones who see the value in the treasure and not in themselves.
This is the kingdom of God.
And when our eyes are opened and we realize the value of the Holy Spirit of Christ, when we realize the treasure of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control that is valuable and life changing – we realize the difference between the trash and worthlessness of sin compared to the treasures of obedience.
But the world rocks back from that word obedience. Those other creatures have no interest in obedience, not realizing yet that it is the only path that faith and belief carries us to if we are indeed a rare and precious and valuable creature. They have not yet been touched by the valuable cargo if they are still happy carrying filth. They may have seen the treasure or even heard about it, but they haven’t yet carried it themselves. For who would return to carrying filth and disease and pouring out sin and wickedness into the world, once they have touched the true treasures of the creator?
And once we are touched and changed, aren’t we carrying the very cargo that this world is in search of? Aren’t they searching for purpose and value in all the wrong places, accepting filth because they do not yet know the true treasures? Sinn we get to share with one another this fruit, this treasure, that has eternal value?
Let’s gather together. Let’s examine our own cargo and make sure that what we are carrying is actually valuable. And let’s work together to see eyes opened and hearts changed to realize the value of the cargo that is truly valuable – and to recognize the value is not in self, nor in the pleasures and temptations of this world.
Is your life filled with heartfelt worship?
Is your life filed with sharing with others in joy and generosity?
Is your life filled with praising God?
Is your life filled with goodwill between you and others?
Or is there room in your cart for these treasures?
Do you really want them? Do you see their value?
Is there something that needs to come out of your life to make room for the treasure?
Which one do you truly want to hang onto?
Decide today who you will serve, friend.