What Are You Investing In?
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:43-45, English Standard Version
I don’t think many readers need an explanation as to what a treasure is. The Word of God says elsewhere that where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matt 6:21). If your treasure is valuable to you, you protect it. It’s a place in which good and precious things are collected and stored. Many people keep valuables in safes, hidden somewhere that can’t be reached easily except by its owner who knows where it is, and how to open it. Usually, a safe is made of such materials that even if a house burns down, whatever is contained in the safe is protected and you still can’t hardly break into them to get what’s inside. That’s why they call them ‘safes’, eh.
Storing Treasure In Your Heart
Take thought for what King Solomon says;
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep [guard] your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” (Proverbs 4:20-24, ESV, emphasis mine)
If you ignore the chapter divides and subheadings in your Bible, you may then realize Jesus was not changing subjects when he proceeded to say in the next few verses what he did about building on the rock;
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)
May I submit to you some thoughts for consideration? This story about the men building their houses, is related to what Jesus was just saying a moment ago about a good tree bearing good fruit and a bad tree bearing bad fruit. And, it relates to what we’re speaking out of our mouths, from the overflow of the heart. Both people were hearing what Jesus said, but only one stored the precious words of life in their heart, as treasure, while the other didn’t. In the parable of the sower, one of these individuals was the tree that sprouted up quickly but had no depth, while the other produced fruit multiple-fold (see Matthew 13:18-23). This was evidenced in the fruit in their life, but also in the manner in which they built.
One built on the rock, Christ Jesus, the other didn’t. In order for a tree or plant of any kind to be healthy, it needs a few key elements; water, sunlight, and proper soil. That soil contains minerals and various elements, not just dirt alone or manure. Likewise, if you water it too much or only give it water, then it will get waterlogged and die. If you don’t give it any, and it only gets heat and sunlight, it will die also. For all of our lives, we need the water of the Holy Spirit to bring nourishment and understanding of the soil of the Word of God in our lives, and I personally feel, the heat and sunlight represent trials and tribulations in life.
One of these two men built on the rock, using valuable and strong materials, hidden from plain site, on a solid foundation, while the other with simple materials, visible above the ground but not able to withstand a storm. In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he told them:
“According to the grace of God, given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each man’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (emphasis mine).
In Plain Site, or Hidden?
Wood, hay and straw are stuff that grows or is found above the ground a lot more easily than precious materials. On the other hand, gold, silver, and precious stones tend to be beneath the surface, and aren’t visible–they are buried and hidden and require seeking. They are treasures. If you went to Home Depot with several thousands of dollars, and you decided to buy piles of 2x4s, I’m sure you could get a good start on building a house. But if you were to take that same money and invest it in gold or silver, you would get a significantly smaller quantity amount with that investment. Wood on the one hand burns in fire. And when it burns, it’s gone, and all you have left are ashes.
Gold withstands fire and is purified. In order to get them from the ground, one needs to bow down and seek–symbolizing a posture of prayer, if you will. When you put gold through the fire, you don’t diminish it or lose any of it. It changes form at a certain point from solid to liquid, but you don’t lose any of it when you put it through the fire, and the impurities are dissolved and the gold is given a purer quality by the fire.
Private Devotional Life
As Leonard Ravenhill once said, and I agree with him, I think gold is symbolic of your private and “unseen” devotional life;
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:6-9)
Of silver, Proverbs 10:20 says “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.” What are you saying? What do you spend your time speaking of? If you go back to Exodus and study the garments the priests were to wear before entering into the holy of holies, you’ll find it was embroidered with precious stones.
All of these items, gold, silver and precious stones are symbolic in one way or another of personal private devotional life in the believer’s life under the new covenant, while wood, hay and straw may be tall, large and mighty—looking great and standing erect above everything else, ultimately they don’t withstand the fire at the end time harvest.
Matthew 13:44 mentions a man who found a treasure hidden in a field, and covered it up to make sure nobody else found it. He then went and in joy sold all he had to buy the whole field for the sake of that one treasure he found. This seems to imply the treasure was not out in the open in plain site, but something that needed to be sought after in order for it to be discovered, and he had found it. And one that was purchased at no small cost (see Luke 14:33).
When you put the fire to THIS treasure, this gold, you don’t diminish it or lose any of it—but it costs you everything you’ve got to purchase it. It doesn’t look like a lot, but it will withstand the fire on that day of judgment. Whether it be storms beating down on the house you built, or the fire testing your works and what you built in this lifetime for the kingdom of God, everything’s going to be tested. It’s inevitable, but what is up to us is how we respond and how we prepare for such fires.