Tag Archives: Matthew 6:19-21

The Most Prized Possession

Three young ladies were asked to bring in their most prized possessions. The first brought in a box filled with dolls. “My daddy used to get me a new one whenever he went someplace new,” she explained. “Every time I got one it reminded me of how much he loves me.”

The second brought in a bag containing a number of dresses. “My mother made each of these with her own two hands,” she said, “with every stitch I saw how much my mother loved and cared about me.”

The last brought in a small sack, out of it she pulled a Bible. “My Father gave this to me with great care,” she stated. “He showed me his love and devotion on every page and every day I open it and am reminded of his love, looking forward to the time when I can be with him forever.”

The beauty of the pages of Scripture is unmatched by anything this world has to offer. As much as we value the prized possessions from those we love, we must be focused even more on laying up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). The Psalmist wrote, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:10-11).

What is your most prized possession?

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The Challenges of “Success”

Three young brothers went to a wise old patriarch to seek his advice about how to become successful in life. As they came before him, he stated that there were many ways to meet the human standard of success; because of this, they would need to tell him the means by which they wanted to be successful.

“What is the greatest goal you would need to obtain to consider yourself a success?” The old man asked.

 “It would have to be popularity,” said the first brother.

“That is a difficult means of success,” said the patriarch. “For in order to be successful by popularity you must be willing to find what most people like and become that. Popularity will also require that you not just find what is favorable to people now, but to continuously do so in the future. It will require you to put aside your own principles, beliefs, desires, and feelings in order to blend into the framework of the majority. In order to reach your ultimate goal you will have to sell yourself to the majority, but that majority can just as quickly become the minority; so you must be willing to change at a moment’s notice. It is a very dangerous goal that can quickly lead to your demise.”

“What is your goal to consider yourself successful?” The old man then said to the second brother.

“Success would require that I be wealthy so that I may have all my heart desires,” the second brother replied.

“That is also a very difficult means of success,” the wise man assured him, “for it is an unsure and unsecured measurement of it. There are few ways to become truly rich in this world: you must have it given to you by those already wealthy, you must take it through manipulation and other dishonest means, or you must find and create or produce something that many people need and for which they will pay. As with your brother, though, you will find that the greatest challenge of all is not gaining wealth, but keeping it. You will quickly make enemies, whether by the means of your acquiring the wealth or the jealousy of it. You will also have to find ways of keeping large sums of wealth entering your pockets. This requires additional work because there will be obstacles at every turn, both from the people around you and the ventures you undertake. Make no mistake, considering success by wealth will cost you far more than you believe, both in the wealth itself and in the people you have to walk over, leave behind, and ignore or set aside in order to obtain it; and it never leaves one truly happy.”

“And you, young man?” The patriarch said to the third.

“The ultimate success would be to live forever,” responded the third brother.

“So it would,” replied the wise man with a smile, “but it is without doubt true that every man dies. That does not, however, mean that when a man dies he ceases to exist. Man has a soul, and that soul is everlasting. There are two places in which that soul can find itself after death: paradise or torments. In order to truly live in paradise for all eternity it will be a challenging endeavor, for there is but one that controls the entrance to paradise. You must be willing to set aside the menial things of this life and turn it over to another. You must take on his burdens, follow his commands, and accept his rules. This will mean that oftentimes you will be unpopular, poor, and pitiful to those on this earth, even within your own family. However, it also provides rewards beyond anything this world can imagine. For it is true that once you have lived this life in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and the reward is given, it will be there forever and will not be removed. You can then spend eternity in rest and peace. This is truly the greatest success of all, and if you secure it you will have chosen wisely, no matter what others around you might say.”

When the brothers left, they went to work in their lives seeking the measures of success they desired. The first brother changed everything he was to become what people wanted, and it worked – for a while. Eventually, though, he was unable to keep up with the changing dynamics of life and culture; but by then he had given up everything that he had ever held as important and wound up living the rest of his days angry and cynical because of his inability to remain as he desired.

The second brother sought out to become rich and managed to gain a formidable wealth for a time. The problem was that eventually the markets tumbled, everyone had what he was selling, and his enemies did not withhold any underhanded means of trying to destroy him. Eventually, the riches he thought were such a blessing became a curse. In seeking to retain his wealth he spent more and more time working. He lost his family, his friends, and eventually that all-important wealth as well. When his life ended he was as poor as when he started and he could think of nothing but all he had lost and the failure of his life.

The third brother lived his life according to the standard God gave. It meant many of the things others did with their lives were passed up by the brother. He was never rich, popular, or in any way great by the standards of men. Nevertheless, he had a life he enjoyed, a family he loved, and a peace most could not understand. When he left this life, it was not with fear, sorrow, or despair: but excitement, joy, and peace. While most of the world never knew when he came or went, those that loved him knew of his ultimate success, and the promised rest was his for all eternity.

“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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

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What is your Ultimate Goal in Life?

What is your ultimate goal in life? What is that one thing that, above all else, is most important to you for you to consider your life a success? If you have never thought about it in these terms, you need to do so. For the ultimate goal of your life will direct the decisions you make, the roads you take, and the means by which you approach them. If your ultimate goal is riches, it will require one direction of focus; if it is to live to the utmost until you die, you will make different decisions; if it is to receive eternal life, another set of decisions will guide your path. Only you can decide what your ultimate goal in life is, but the decisions you make will be very telling to the world around you as to what you find to be most important.

As an illustration of this, please consider the following story. I believe it helps show how important our ultimate goals are to the paths we take in life.

The Challenges of “Success”

Adam B. Cozort

Three young brothers went to a wise old patriarch to seek his advice about how to become successful in life. As they came before him, he stated that there were many ways to meet the human standard of success; because of this, they would need to tell him the means by which they wanted to be successful.

“What is the greatest goal you would need to obtain to consider yourself a success?” The old man asked.

 “It would have to be popularity,” said the first brother.

“That is a difficult means of success,” said the patriarch. “For in order to be successful by popularity you must be willing to find what most people like and become that. Popularity will also require that you not just find what is favorable to people now, but to continuously do so in the future. It will require you to put aside your own principles, beliefs, desires, and feelings in order to blend into the framework of the majority. In order to reach your ultimate goal you will have to sell yourself to the majority, but that majority can just as quickly become the minority; so you must be willing to change at a moment’s notice. It is a very dangerous goal that can quickly lead to your demise.”

“What is your goal to consider yourself successful?” The old man then said to the second brother.

“Success would require that I be wealthy so that I may have all my heart desires,” the second brother replied.

“That is also a very difficult means of success,” the wise man assured him, “for it is an unsure and unsecured measurement of it. There are few ways to become truly rich in this world: you must have it given to you by those already wealthy, you must take it through manipulation and other dishonest means, or you must find and create or produce something that many people need and for which they will pay. As with your brother, though, you will find that the greatest challenge of all is not gaining wealth, but keeping it. You will quickly make enemies, whether by the means of your acquiring the wealth or the jealousy of it. You will also have to find ways of keeping large sums of wealth entering your pockets. This requires additional work because there will be obstacles at every turn, both from the people around you and the ventures you undertake. Make no mistake, considering success by wealth will cost you far more than you believe, both in the wealth itself and in the people you have to walk over, leave behind, and ignore or set aside in order to obtain it; and it never leaves one truly happy.”

“And you, young man?” The patriarch said to the third.

“The ultimate success would be to live forever,” responded the third brother.

“So it would,” replied the wise man with a smile, “but it is without doubt true that every man dies. That does not, however, mean that when a man dies he ceases to exist. Man has a soul, and that soul is everlasting. There are two places in which that soul can find itself after death: paradise or torments. In order to truly live in paradise for all eternity it will be a challenging endeavor, for there is but one that controls the entrance to paradise. You must be willing to set aside the menial things of this life and turn it over to another. You must take on his burdens, follow his commands, and accept his rules. This will mean that oftentimes you will be unpopular, poor, and pitiful to those on this earth, even within your own family. However, it also provides rewards beyond anything this world can imagine. For it is true that once you have lived this life in obedience to the Lord’s commands, and the reward is given, it will be there forever and will not be removed. You can then spend eternity in rest and peace. This is truly the greatest success of all, and if you secure it you will have chosen wisely, no matter what others around you might say.”

When the brothers left, they went to work in their lives seeking the measures of success they desired. The first brother changed everything he was to become what people wanted, and it worked – for a while. Eventually, though, he was unable to keep up with the changing dynamics of life and culture; but by then he had given up everything that he had ever held as important and wound up living the rest of his days angry and cynical because of his inability to remain as he desired.

The second brother sought out to become rich and managed to gain a formidable wealth for a time. The problem was that eventually the markets tumbled, everyone had what he was selling, and his enemies did not withhold any underhanded means of trying to destroy him. Eventually, the riches he thought were such a blessing became a curse. In seeking to retain his wealth he spent more and more time working. He lost his family, his friends, and eventually that all-important wealth as well. When his life ended he was as poor as when he started and he could think of nothing but all he had lost and the failure of his life.

The third brother lived his life according to the standard God gave. It meant many of the things others did with their lives were passed up by the brother. He was never rich, popular, or in any way great by the standards of men. Nevertheless, he had a life he enjoyed, a family he loved, and a peace most could not understand. When he left this life, it was not with fear, sorrow, or despair: but excitement, joy, and peace. While most of the world never knew when he came or went, those that loved him knew of his ultimate success, and the promised rest was his for all eternity.

“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. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

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3 Thoughts from Yesterday’s Disaster

Following the tragic tornado damage in Moore, OK and other areas of the plains over the last few days, many in our region have been reminded of the tornadoes that came through Smithville, MS, Tuscaloosa, AL, and other areas of the region two years ago. It is a forceful reminder of the fragility of life and the need for focus on eternal things. Therefore, today’s article centers upon three distinct thoughts that have come to my mind frequently in the last 24 hours.

1. We have no guarantees on the length of our lives. “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jam. 4:13-14)

2. Do not place your trust in the physical things of this world. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mat. 6:19-21)

3. As much as some people believe it to be so, God did not bring this destruction as judgment upon these people, nor did he “take” those who died away from us because it was “their time.” God allows nature to work, and sometimes the actions of nature affect us in horrific ways. Consider two passages of Scripture that bear this out: “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5); “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:2-3).

Pray for those who are having to endure this tragedy, help them if you can; and in all things give glory to God for his love, concern, and care in all times of life (both good and bad).

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