Summer time is a great season to enjoy the outdoors and participate in all sorts of sporting events. Many of us sign up for 5K road races, Warrior Dashes, soccer tournaments, softball leagues, or other forms of personal or team competitions. We Americans are competition crazy, and we look for ways to achieve success in the process of getting to first place.
We work hard and train for months, so that we can run faster, in order to receive a $5.00 T-shirt, and a $5.00 gold medal. These small awards are meant to symbolize our efforts and be a small token to remember the achievement later in life. Some of us have walls full of trophies and boxes full of medals. A little success over a period of time can create quite a collection of these little rewards.
As an athlete myself, I have a passion for track and field throwing events, like the discus and javelin. I have spent a few decades working on my skills, and I have seen good success. And yes, I do have boxes of medals and trophies. I have learned that prioritizing my sports activity is the key to maintaining balance in my life. This list looks like God, family, job, other people, and then sports in the 4th or 5th slot. My sport likes to creep up the list at certain times, but I have to continually work at keeping it in it’s proper place.
What are these rewards really doing for us? They do not have real value, even Olympic medals are gold-plated pot metal. If these things are our most valued treasures, then our values are misplaced. Matthew 6:20 reads, “…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Our earthly treasures are subject to corrosion, loss, and theft. Our world will consume and destroy our earthly treasures. Jesus tells us to treasure things that are eternal, namely himself.
Jesus Christ must be our most valued treasure. True joy and fulfillment come from loving him and pursuing him above all else. Our ultimate prize for eternity will be to dwell in fellowship with Christ forever(Philippians 3:14). Just like the awards and trophies we like to showcase, we are called to showcase and share the gospel with others.
People are eternal creations designed by God to live forever. What we do on earth for and with people has eternal implications. Jesus, talking to Peter, in John 21:17b said, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus is asking the disciple Peter to love people and share the gospel with them. Our love of Christ should overflow into a love of people. Our greatest treasure is not meant to be hoarded but shared. This focus on loving and caring for others is how we can invest our eternal treasure in Christ here on earth.
If we would apply just half of the effort that we put into our sports, hobbies, and interests, into the lives of other people, what results would we see for the Kingdom of God. When your heart is centered on the ultimate treasure, then your life on earth will be more meaningful and rewarding. Where is your focus today?