Almost all the memories I have of my Papa involve sitting. Sitting on the combine, tractor, or in his pick-up truck. Sitting on his lap eating ice cream watching either the Dallas Cowboys or the Oklahoma Sooners play football. Him sitting in the audience supporting whatever activity I may be participating. Sitting next to his bed during his last weeks and days. But one of my favorite memories was sitting with him in the pew at church – us three grandkids, my brother, sister and I, smushed between my Mimi and Papa. I wish I had some artistic abilities because the memory of him sitting in the corner of that pew with his long arm draped along the back & his other elbow placed on the end, his long legs crossed with his face ever so slightly tilted heavenward and the green stained glass shining behind him – that image, that memory is one I wish I could frame. That pew, the fourth one from the back, in my childhood church holds some very sweet memories; memories that I treasure deep in my heart.
Psalm 119: 11 says, “I have treasured Your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against You.” The Hebrew word for treasure here is tasphan meaning to hide or to treasure up.
Our English dictionary would define the use of this word treasure:
1) to hold or keep as precious, or
2) to collect or store up (something of value) for future use.
You may have even learned Psalm 119:11 as, “I have stored up Your word in my heart…” It seems like we do one of two things when it comes to treasure – we either keep it close to us or we store it away.
Treasured Your Word
My Papa passed away when I was fifteen. One of the most treasured items my Papa left was his duct-tape Bible. It was the Bible my Papa carried with him when he worked. So that beloved duct-tape Bible saw many-a corn & wheat harvest come & go, as well as, lived the majority of its life in his pick-up, combine, tractor, or grain truck. It was literally held together by duct-tape. But the reason the Bible was duct-taped together wasn’t because of its environment but because of the time my Papa spent reading it. What made it treasure to us was the well-worn duct tape Bible reminded us of its well-read owner. After my Papa died, my aunt bought a beautiful ceramic box for Papa’s duct-tape Bible. It has Isaiah 40:8 on the outside, “The grass withers, the flower fades but the word of our God stands forever.” The juxtaposition has always made me smile. Something expensive and ornate holding duct-tape. But my Papa knew what the Psalmist knew – God’s word was meant to be treasured.
As stated before, we usually handle treasure one of two ways – we hold it close, investing lots of time and energy in it, or we display it, out of reach only to be looked at but never touched. So, here’s the question:
How do you treasure God’s Word?
Is it a treasure that sits high on a shelf for people to marvel at – like a relic? Or is it something you spend time in, trying to memorize and soak up as much as you possibly can? Do you have a relationship with the Author of God’s word?
Relic vs Relationship
I, myself, have two different types of treasures currently in my home. Type one – store-up. I have two baseballs in glass boxes on display in my home. One is signed by my favorite former Texas Rangers baseball pitchers, Alex Claudio, and the second baseball was tossed directly to me during a game by Andrew Casher, another former Texas Ranger pitcher. I love these baseballs. They are very special to me. But will they ever come out of their glass containers? No. Will we ever play catch with them? Absolutely not! Why? because I want to preserve them, keep them beautiful, pristine, & not lose them. A relic, perfectly preserved, on the shelf.
But there is another type of treasure in my home, type two treasures, the “keep them close” kind. That treasure is found in the faces of my two precious boys. Most of my day is spent caring for my little guys. I’m feeding, caring for, or cleaning up after them. Albeit my responsibility, it is my joy to know and love them well. I want to have a relationship with my sons – a good one, an unconditional one, one that isn’t determined by proximity or time. I want to know what makes them happiest, scared, or brave. I want to know their favorite toys, characters, foods, treats. I want to be their person. I treasure my boys; but unlike the relics I have put on the shelf, I live, day in a day out, in relationship with them.
Bibles, Baseballs, & Boys
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-21,”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys or where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Does God want us to treasure things like baseballs above all else? No. Why? Because moth, rust and thieves can ruin or steal them. God knows things will happen and we will never find true joy in material possessions. Should we treasure our children above all else? No. Because again, God knows we will never find true joy in a finite being. Christ should be our premier treasure. Because as previously referenced:
The grass waters, the flour fades but the word of our God stands forever.
God’s word. God’s promises. God Himself stands forever. Our God is a good God who loves to give us good gifts, good treasures. The best thing He can give us is Himself. Christ on earth. Holy Spirit in our hearts & God for all eternity – in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy or where thieves break in and steal. God didn’t give us a relic to worship but a relationship with Himself.
My Papa’s duct-tape Bible is still encased in a beautiful keepsake box on my mom’s buffet table in their home. It’s treasure to all of us, but you know what? Every one of us would trade that relic for a current relationship with my Papa.
How do you treasure God’s word? Don’t allow your Bible to be a relic. Live in relationship with our God who stands forever.