NOTE: In this devotion Jesus’ imagined words are in red.”
DATE: October 23, 2018
TEXT: Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
While I have been given no special insight into the conversations which go on in heaven, I imagine the following discussion might have happened. The story begins with the Archangel Michael approaching the Savior with a question.
He begins, “Master, our agents in the United States have reported some kind of unique phenomenon. It seems that, all over the country, great crowds of people are standing in long, long lines to buy some small papers with numbers on them. Just as notable: Many conversations are beginning with the words, “If you win, what will you buy?”Dear Jesus, do you have an explanation?”
Jesus thought for a moment and said, “Ah, yes, Michael, that would be the lottery.” “And, Lord, just what is a lottery?”, Michael quickly queried.
“Michael, a lottery is where people spend their money in the remote hope that they might win a whole lot of money. The chances of an individual winning are incredibly small, but, as your agents report, that doesn’t stop people from trying.”
“Lord, suppose, just suppose, they did win. What would they do with all that money?” Gabriel asked.
“Oh, that’s easy. They would buy stuff.” “What kind of stuff?”, Gabriel wanted to know. “All kinds of stuff”, Jesus responded. “Some would try to buy security; or peace of mind, or time. Many others would content themselves in the buying of things. One way or another, they would all use this money to try and transform their dreams and longings into realities.”
Gabriel mulled over what he had heard. He continued with a new set of questions. “Can money really do all those things? “No”, said Jesus, “but most don’t know that. At least not yet.”
Jesus continued, “I’m Divine and know everything, but that fact has always seemed a bit surprising to Me. If people look at their rich rock stars, their movie idols, their millionaires and billionaires, it ought to be pretty obvious these folks aren’t all that happy. It ought to be equally apparent that the things money can buy have some serous limitations. “ Gabriel responded, “Is that why we warn them not to pin all their hopes on stuff which rusts, which can be stolen, which wears out, loses its value and has a short shelf life?” “That’s why”, Jesus agreed.
Before he left the Lord’s presence, Gabriel said, “Master, one last question? Do you think there will ever come a time when people will line up just as eagerly to hear the salvation story? I mean, with Your suffering, death and resurrection, You have given forgiveness and salvation to all who believe. Those are gifts worth far more than two billion dollars. More than that, these blessings don’t cost them anything. Then, to top it off, Your gifts are eternal. They will never lose their value.”
Realizing the length of his questions, Gabriel summed up all he had asked with these simple words, “Will people ever be as eager for Your gifts as they are for these earthly treasures?”
“Some will” Jesus said. “They will when the Holy Spirit touches them. When that happens, they will know the truth and that truth will set them free. On that day they will know their true treasure is found only with faith in Me and not on a piece of paper from the 7-11.”
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, someone is going to win a lot of money. May the love of that money not destroy him. There are many who will win nothing in the lottery. Help them see the truly valuable things of life are the imperishable gifts which have been bought by the Savior’s sacrifice. In His Name we pray. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html