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God help us seek the things that are above us and not set our hearts on things of this world. The things that last are the things of God; the gifts of God’s Spirit (Psalm 49).
Security is the word; security is what we want. The airwaves are inundated with offers from those who want to give us financial security, even in these hard times. We can sleep nights when our investments are in the hands of people who want us to believe they can secure our future.
Jesus warns us to secure our future through a deep and lasting relationship with God. Jesus is the treasure that secures our present and our future when we are “rich toward God” (Luke 12: 13-21).
In the book of Ecclesiastes, the preacher reminds us that “All is vanity.” Like a puff of wind, our accumulation of things gives us nothing with which to build our future. The story that Jesus spins rings true (Luke 12:13). Retirement looked good and he had the wherewithal to “eat, drink, and be merry” for years to come. But it didn’t turn out as he planned, when the wealthy man died and what he had gathered was enjoyed by others.
The story is repeated time and again. “Things” that we trust to give us security, pleasure and happiness fail in their promise, and we lose the hope we claimed for them. Medicine, bank accounts, insurance, vitamins, exercise and a long list of promising possessions are all “vanity,” says the preacher.
Jesus is our present and our future hope, our priceless treasure. A life filled with love (that’s “Jesus”) finds hope every day as it reaches out to God and our neighbors. Love is “forever,” for God is love. Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, not even death.
Life filled with Jesus’ forgiveness is never in want of consolation and peace. Sleepless nights do not reach those who give and receive God’s unmerited forgiveness day by day.
Life filled with Jesus’ spirit has security beyond this life, even in the deep, shadowed valley of death. Lives set on “things above” are “hid in God” and possess a treasure that can never slip away (Colossians 3: 1-11). In Christ, with God, Our “ABBA,” we are secure for eternity.
Check your investments. How much of life is invested in “things” that are empty? How much of life is invested in God?
The best investment I make each day is when I read and hear the Scriptures. Time put in there frees me from worry and fear.
Similarly, the best investment I make is when each day I gather at the heavenly banquet with Jesus. Scripture and sacrament secure my place in God forever.
A 17th-century poet said it well:
“Jesus, priceless treasure, font of purest pleasure, truest friend to me. Ah, how long in anguish shall my spirit languish, yearning, Lord, for thee? Thou are mine, O Lamb divine! I will suffer naught to hide thee, naught I ask beside Thee.
“ In thine arms, I rest me; foes who would molest me cannot reach me here. Though the earth be shaking, every heart be quaking, Jesus calms my fear. Lightnings flash and thunders crash; yet, though sin and hell assail me, Jesus will not fail me.”
(The Lutheran Hymnal, number 347)