Where Your Treasure Is
Each one of us has a treasure – a treasure that we hold dearly and guard fiercely. Treasures mean different things to different people. For some, ornate homes, fancy cars, fashionable duds, status symbols, padded portfolios, and the like serve as their treasure. They expend time, energy and resources to gain, hoard, and flaunt what the Bible says that moth and rust will eventually corrupt.
Others recognize treasure as something more eternal. They define treasure as the guiding principles of their lives, core convictions by which decisions are made and from which actions flow. At UGST I was able to discover what lie in my treasure chest. Much to my surprise and dismay, those things that once held such luster proved to be nothing more than Fool’s Gold. I lived most of my life believing that achievement equals importance. Or more aptly put, that recognition of achievement equals importance. My identity revolved around accolades and ‘atta’ boy’s’. The ambition of accomplishment proved my worth to others, myself, and, according to my distorted notions, even to God. I was walking a path that followed the expectations of others and serving a God that was highly conditional and rather difficult to please. The saying goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ but imagine the alarm when I discovered that my own well-guarded treasure was little more than trash.
One by one I removed valuable notions about life from my treasure chest. Not valuable because they held worth but valuable because that’s how things are treated when they have been around for a long time. ‘Accomplishment equals importance’ had to go. ‘What other people think matters the most’ had to be discarded. ‘God loves only a certain version of me’ was put on the curb. At the bottom of the chest, there was a glimmer of light. Having removed the dust I discovered a mirror, and what I saw was at one and the same time the saddest and happiest moment of my life. I saw myself with unkempt hair and sunken eyes and bruised cheeks, full of imperfections and far from the glossy self-image that I had for so long adored. But I also saw reflected in that mirror the hint of glory, the face of Jesus, the image of God that lies in each of His creatures, and I heard in my spirit the words, “I love you just as you are.”
This discovery led to a determination. The power of choice is one of our defining human characteristics. Regardless of how the treasure made its way into my chest, I now possessed the power to discard false notions about God and about me, and I could adopt truths about God’s nature and my status in His sight. I determined that I am important – not because of what I have done – but because of who I am. I am a son of God, redeemed by His blood, and sealed with His Spirit. I believe that God loves me no matter what, and I long to be loved like that.
Other nuggets of truth that I will forever treasure because of my Urshan experience are the sufficiency of Christ and the sovereignty of God. Sufficiency and sovereignty. Fancy twenty-five-cent seminary words, but they succinctly express deep concepts that altered my life. Christ is enough. Jesus is all I need. And you only discover that when He is all you have. I found everything when I had nothing. When my treasure chest was completely empty, only then was I completely full.
And if God loves me this much, He also knows what is best for me. His Will, though at times obscure, (even during my journey at Urshan) is perfect. God prefers character transformation over my comfort and convenience. God allows suffering to come into my life as part of the process of conforming my stubborn will and bitter brokenness into a life and a person and a husband and a father and a pastor that will bring Him glory. Though there will be times I do not understand, and though there will be times that I chafe against it, and thought there will be times that it causes me much heartache and personal pain, God is in complete control, and He knows what is best for me.
Having defined, discovered, and determined my treasure; I am now devoting my life to defending my treasure. Admittedly, not everyone will agree with the decisions I make, but I cannot assume responsibility for others’ reactions, only for my actions. Inevitably, people will offer back to me trinkets from the past kindly and sincerely suggesting, “Why don’t you put this back into the chest?” “Please, don’t let go of that. That really is valuable.” “This one has been in the family for years.” We defend what is most valuable to us. We defend with fences. We defend with boundaries. We defend because it is more than just treasure – it is a matter of core convictions. It is truth about what we believe concerning life, concerning God. So, my pursuit will be to “love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself” and to encourage others to do the same.
-Graduation Banquet speech by Curt Fee '08: husband, father and pastor in Davenport, IA
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