So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.
—Forrest Fenn, The Thrill of the Chase
Ten years ago or so, Forrest Fenn hid a treasure chest in the Rocky Mountains. A real treasure chest filled with treasure. And he published his memoir titled The Thrill of the Chase with a 24-verse poem. It had the clues to lead you to the treasure. And that was all it took for many people to take up the chase. People became obsessed. People died looking for it. One of them, a pastor, even. And then, last year, someone found the hidden treasure. Right where Forrest Fenn had left it in the forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains.
A treasure hunt would be fun. It would be an adventure. And in one sense, life is a treasure hunt. In another sense, it’s not. In the sense of making your life a search for earthly treasure—in the sense of having this “strong desire to acquire more and more material possessions” (291–292). And Jesus used the parable of the rich fool to teach us not to covet. Instead of making life about amassing wealth for ourselves, we’re called to be rich towards God—generous in giving our material possessions for His use. The Christian doesn’t even have to worry about their physical needs being met. God will take care of those just like He provides food for birds and beautiful apparel for wildflowers. God’s our Father and He’ll provide for us. So we don’t have to live in suspense over our stuff like people do who don’t have that relationship with God. And knowing that God will meet our needs is freeing. It’s freeing because this means we can direct our energy towards seeking the kingdom of God. And Jesus has already indicated that being rich towards God instead of laying up treasure for ourselves is one way to do this. Now it remains to be seen how we do this. And that’s what Jesus now explains. God doesn’t want our life to become a hunt for earthly treasure. But He does want it to become a hunt for heavenly treasure. Jesus said:
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:32–34).
You can tell the Lord knows we struggle with worry and fear because, throughout Luke 12, Jesus is urging us not to do these things. And He’s given us reasons not to worry. God cares about us. Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. Yes. We’re defenseless, vulnerable, needy and weak like sheep in a little flock. But we’re also cared for by a Good Shepherd who is there to defend us. If we’re trusting our wealth for security and if we’re trusting in our physical conditions for satisfaction, then we might be able to ignore the reality that our stuff is vulnerable. Just like the rich fool was so confident without any thought of God, but little did he know that he was about to die.You can place your trust in material things. Lots of people do it. And it’s misplaced trust. But we do have that option. But we know from this passage that this is not the obedient choice.
Jesus wants you to know that you can trust Him for your security without fear. You don’t have to fear because of what God has already done. God has already made a decision. He’s already determined to give you the kingdom. God has already decided to bless you with entry into the future kingdom of Jesus Christ. It’s going to be yours. You have a rich future ahead of you. And, in light of that rich future, Jesus has something for us to do. Sell your possessions. And give of your material possessions out of compassion to meet needs. Notice that Jesus doesn’t tell us to sell all of our possessions. The emphasis is clearly on our generosity. Instead of storing up excess for ourselves, He tells us to be rich towards God. And doing that is exactly how we can seek the kingdom. This is the treasure hunt God has for us.
By being generous with our material goods, we’re making eternal deposits. Earthly goods fail. Stuff breaks. People can steal it. It gets old. Not so with heavenly treasure. How we view material things says a lot about us. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Notice Jesus doesn’t say where your heart is, there your treasure will be also. What Christian wouldn’t say they have their heart fixed on the kingdom of God and their eternal hope! But the Lord knows the temptation is to fix our hearts on material things. To quote one commentator: “If God does not own our possessions, then our possessions will own us” (377). He warns us in Luke 16:13 that we can’t serve God and money.
And the Lord also knows we live in the real world. We face hardships. We’re tempted to worry and fear. But you probably know from your own experience that the things of this earth can disappoint us. Yet if we trust our Father, our Good Shepherd—if we trust Him by being generous towards Him instead of ourselves, we will be obediently orienting ourselves on the treasure hunt God has for us. Seek the kingdom of God. That’s where our hearts should be. Deposit your treasure into heaven by giving to God. And you have no reason to fear. You have the comfort knowing God will meet your needs and care for you now and forever. Jesus makes it clear that following Him, trusting Him, obeying Him, making any sacrifice for Him—He will repay you richly, generously, and exponentially.
Trust God to work out the rewards and trust Him to sustain you with His grace until you receive that eternal reward. Trust Him. And look forward to the Lord’s return and your future reward.