"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:45-46).

I heard an excellent sermon recently explaining that no value can be placed on God's kingdom, and how that we should do all that is in our power to attain it. While meditating on the things I had heard, I thought about all the subtle schemes that Satan employs to make things that are meaningless in the greater scheme of life, appear to be of great value. He dangles the valueless trinkets that men so desire just out of reach and entices us to jump for them, all the while distracting us from our service to God. Things that are so easily lost from our grasp, or fall into total disrepair, are those things that we value the most. All the while, God warns us to avoid "treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." Instead, He commands everyone to "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19-20).

Picture this very real scenario. A man rarely attends a worship service on the Lord's Day. He almost always works Monday through Saturday, and spends an average of twelve hours daily at his job site. He has a stressful job, with a large crew depending on him to make the proper decisions that will keep them productive enough to make a living for their families. On the other side, he is constantly pressed by his supervisor to be more productive. When Sunday morning comes, he can usually be found anywhere except in worship to God. If a concerned brother expresses concern for his soul, he replies with something like "Surely the Lord doesn't expect me to go through what I do every day and not allow me some time to take a break, does He?" Instead of seeking after the one pearl of great value, he has been deceived into putting all his efforts into seeking counterfeit pearls. He then tries to justify his sin by rationalizing that God would be an unreasonable God if He expects him to give up some of his hard-earned recreation time. His heart has become hardened to the concept of personal sacrifice exemplified by the man who "went away and sold everything that he had ."

Consider the words of our Lord to the Pharisees, who sought after the counterfeit pearls of the praises of men and material wealth: "He said to them, 'You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight'" (Luke 16:15).

By David Ramey via Road Creek Bulletin

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