What “booty” (treasure, plunder, spoils) have you been in hot pursuit of lately . . . both personally and professionally? Notice I did not ask “if” you have been in hot pursuit of any kind of booty lately, because the Bible makes it clear we are all pursuing some kind of treasure:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there you heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
By nature, we are all treasure hunters. The question is not if are we in hot pursuit of some kind of booty, but what kind of booty are we looking for. Jesus told us that we need only to check our hearts to find out what we treasure and value most. If you would have to admit that you’ve been pursuing something smaller than Jesus (which is true of all of us from time to time), I have a word of great comfort and encouragement for you today from the pen of the apostle Paul:
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
Saul the Pharisee pursued everything smaller than Jesus until his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road. And he had collected plenty of booty before Jesus showed up: he was educated at the highest level; he ran in the most elite social circles; he received the applause of man on a regular basis. And then one day Saul sat in Damascus, blinded after being confronted by the glory of the living God. He fasted and prayed for three days, and after a careful examination of his past life, he came to the realization that everything he had pursued and possessed was a loss compared to his relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything was rubbish compared to his right relationship with his Redeemer. At that point God gave Saul his sight back, gave him a new name (Paul), and gave him a new heart that would treasure the glory of God. After catching a glimpse of the surpassing greatness of God in Christ, Paul knew there was nothing smaller than Jesus would ever again satisfy his deepest need.
Can the same be said about you today? Is Jesus your greatest treasure? How are you spending your discretionary time and money? What captures your attention and consumes your focus?
What we all end up learning the hard way is that there is nothing smaller than Jesus that can deliver on its promises. The stuff of this world promises meaning, but that can only be found in our Master. The stuff of this world promises significance, but that can only be found in our Savior. The stuff of this world promises purpose, but that can only be found in our Prince of Peace.
Jesus is the only treasure that makes good on its promise. Temporal treasure can bless us temporarily but it simply cannot meet us in our deepest place of need. Only Jesus can do that and He will do that moment by moment, every step of the way into glory. Jesus is the true believer’s booty!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!