TREASURES EARTHLY AND HEAVENLY.
Closely relating to the subject above is our Lord's statement: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, ...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matt. 6:19-20).
The call to which the consecrated have answered is a "heavenly calling;" the prize for which the Christian Church runs is a heavenly prize. Because our hearts will be (and our time and talents too) where our treasure is, therefore, we should be on our guard lest earthly treasures draw our hearts from the heavenly prize. A treasure may be of any sort--money, children, wife, flowers, birds, horses, cattle, or self, or business --anything. That which fills the largest place in our hearts is our treasure. As our hearts are "deceitful" we cannot always take what they say relative to this subject, and each should judge his own heart and decide what it treasures the most. To aid in such examination, we suggest that, that is its treasure upon which the mind and affections dwell most pleasurably, and though broken off or interrupted by business or sorrow, the heart returns as naturally to its treasure as the compass needle to the pole. The heart's treasure is that for which we would and do make the greatest sacrifices of time, strength, convenience, etc. It is of our heart's treasure that we always most desire to speak to those we love, and to the defense of which we quickly come when we see it assailed, and in whose [R874 : page 6] defense we would most quickly spend all--even life itself.
The honors and privileges of our calling to be "the Bride, the Lamb's wife," and joint heirs with him of the heavenly kingdom, should make that the supreme treasure of every heart in which it is appreciated. In comparison with that, every other treasure should seem, as it really is, insignificant. The heart should continually gravitate toward this as its center or treasure; and though flowers and birds and children and wife and parents be treasured and highly esteemed and dearly loved, yet all of these combined should not be as precious to us as the heavenly prize upon which our hearts have centered.
To have this heavenly treasure will not prevent love for others, in proportion as they are good and pure; but it would always hold them in abeyance, so that if a clash of interests should come, and it should become a question of holding the affection of any or all of these, at the sacrifice of the Lord's approval we should be ready to decide for the Lord at once, without delay or hesitation; and we should see to it that our loyalty to the Lord is ever ready for this test; for he not only calls us to the honor of being his bride and joint heir, but he tells us he will test the faithfulness of our professions, and that he that loveth him not more than houses, lands, and all else, and whose love will not stand the test of fiery trial, is not worthy of him (Matt. 10:37-38), and that they who are ashamed of him and his word now, he will not own by and by. And who can say this is an unreasonable test, when the honor of the position is considered.
In proportion as we are faithful to our consecration in rendering our sacrifices, denying self and following the Master's steps, we come to realize the heavenly treasure more and more clearly, and our hearts are set more and more upon it. On the contrary the more we handle and spend time and attention upon earthly things, the more they get to fill our hearts and so would crowd out the heavenly. "Set your affections on things above." Where your treasure is your heart will be, and what you sacrifice most for, becomes your treasure. That which costs us most and which we give most for, we love most, and thus it is proved to be our treasure.
Those who hope to gain the heavenly prize would do well to consider frequently and with care what difference these hopes have made upon their plans and aims in this life. There should be a marked difference not only in our feelings, but also in our actual plans and interests. It is very easy to lightly say and think, "O, yes, I love the truth and the Lord's cause better than any thing else"; but lest our hearts deceive us, we should not hesitate to put them to the test--to measure and weigh our devotedness to God by our daily sacrifices. Those who thus frequently sit in judgment upon their own case do not so often need to be corrected of the Lord; "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord."--1 Cor. 11:31,32.
It may be a painful thing, sometimes, to apply the test thoroughly; but as we consider the eternal and valued interests which are conditioned on our present faithfulness, we should not shrink from the task. The Lord will not be deceived, nor take for his joint-heir one whose heart is divided. "He that loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me."--Matt. 10:34-39.