JESUS CHRIST OUR TREASURE
Most people in the world seek their income and/or savings and treasure in the form of various things that money buys, such as a house, automobile, traveling, vacations. The necessary money is often earned by work, profession or investment. Because money is the major medium for the exchange of goods, the accumulation of money can easily become a limitless desire and the passion of love of money. Concerning this, the Lord says in Holy Scripture says: “the love of money is the root of all evil.” This verse is often misquoted as: “money is the root of all evil”, which is untrue, for money is neutral. Scripture specifically says the “love of money is the root of evil.
Considering that the Lord created us, feeds and clothes us and supplies all of our needs of everything, it is proper and right and that our thanksgiving and love belong to Him. We don’t have to love money to provide for our needs, but we can earn it properly and use it prudently. Our affection and love ought to be totally directed toward God and not diverted to money and the perishable goods of this world. It is not just money that we are forbidden to love, but the love of anything in this world, for when we direct our love toward anything other than God we do not return God’s love. Also Holy Scripture says that love of the world and its contents places us at enmity with God.
We know that there is a requirement for money to live during our brief time in this world so we need money. But we also need to use it prudently to provide for family and necessities as well as helping others where possible. Seeking to accumulate and hoard money is a great evil and there is no debate about this. Our church needs money to operate and we need to donate our fair share.
If we concentrate our love and attention on money, we make “things” more important than Christ who desires that we love Him above and beyond everything else. However, love of money is only one of many evils that affect mankind. Saul who became St. Paul teaches that anything that separates us from Christ is a great loss to the soul. Paul was financially well off, well educated and held in great respect, being very distinguished among the upper crust Jews, yet he classifies the love of things instead of Christ to be accounted as refuse, and a terrible loss for his soul.
“However, what things were gain to me, these have I counted as a loss for Christ. Indeed, I count all things to be a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things. And I do count them but refuse that I may gain Christ. . .” (Phil. 3: 7-8)
Christ is the source of our lives, and Provider of the earth we live on, with the air we breathe and our food and water. He gives all of us what we need to live, so there is no greater treasure we can possess than Christ, who is greatest wealth, most perfect hope, our greater source of mercy, and He is infinitely good and rewards our love by treating as a loving Father does his sons and daughters. We cannot love anything else with a greater love than Christ who loves us and gave himself as a sacrifice for mankind. He who in faith loves Christ lacks nothing and has everything, even if he is living in poverty, for Christ is the only treasure man needs and he who loves Christ is the wealthiest of all men.
Saul who later became Paul was a member of the distinguished sect of Pharisees who , out of envy sought to eradicate the memory of Christ forever, by eliminating every trace of His preachers and followers, forbidding the mention of His name.
The appearance and words of Christ completely transformed Paul from a persecutor of Christians to a disciple and apostle of Christ. This was a immense change, and many Christians were not convinced until they saw Paul in action. Paul was on the path to become the greatest preacher of Christ’s truth, spreading the Gospel of salvation and eternal life, as well as the becoming a most ardent lover of Jesus Christ and His followers. He eventually followed Jesus even to death, and stated his preference to die and be with Christ than to remain in this world. Paul knew well an taught with vigor and enthusiasm the true destiny of all men, and the reward or punishment awaiting them according to their choice.
Could the Apostle Paul have been deceived in counting all things a loss and disadvantage compared to the love of Christ in whom he placed hall his hope? In its 2,000 years of history, the Church strongly testifies and confirms that Paul certainly was not deceived but divinely informed, enlightened directly by Christ, causing Paul to make the choice of following Christ and gaining everlasting life, and bringing many others with him. Paul correctly considered everything in this world as refuse unworthy of pursuit. He worked with his hands for his sustenance to avoid becoming a burden to anyone as he says: “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought, but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you” (2 Thess. 3:8).
Why are we called to abandon this world and place all our hope in Christ? Christ came into the world being its Creator, Teacher and Savior who instructing us as to our origin and final destiny, which is from soil of the earth to becoming like God, and he established what we must do to gain eternal life. He did not set up a competing social system, but established the Kingdom of God on earth. We testify this at every Divine Liturgy: “Blessed is the kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.” He overthrew the ruler of the world, and shattered his kingdom, for he had deceptively seized authority over man. Christ came to free the human race who were prisoners of the devil ruling over them by sin and death.
What does this world offer to man? As it stands it is not the moral world created by God, but the world shaped by the devil, who rules by injustice, division and animosity among men. While the world promises us nothing but corruption and death in the end, Christ promises eternal life to all the faithful without sickness or death. Certainly it is the best choice to strive for Christ and eternal life. Paul, the other apostles, countless fathers all teach that it is best to lose everything and gain Christ. Christ established His holy Church permanently and established it as His Body with himself as the Head.
What does Christ offer? With His victory Christ won everything in heaven and on earth and the devil is now without authority and under His dominion. The world rightfully belongs to Christ who is the world’s only rightful King and Ruler. As such He sets the standards for His subjects, governing what they may and may not do. He commands honesty and justice, mercy and kindness, with humility and meekness. Such good behavior causes peace to dominate our souls and the souls of all believers, enabling us to dwell together with the source of virtue in Christ.
We must give up everything out of great love for Christ, for He alone is worthy of our love, being our Creator and Savior. Out of love for Him we must give up all evil thoughts and actions and all vices and lawlessness. We must give up the love of this world and its perishable things. If we choose this world we lose Christ and our souls are left desolate and miserable.
Christ offers us immortal youth where there will is no aging. Christ fills our souls with enduring happiness and absolute hope. Christ will be our judge gathering those who love Him placing them on His right hand. The world deludes us while Christ seeks to reward us with life without end. Christ is our only true Friend and seeks us to accept His friendship. He love us with the greatest love and seeks our love in return. Christ seeks very little and gives everything to those who love Him.
“Christ is not light and darkness but light alone. Christ is not truth and falsehood but truth alone. Neither is Christ life and death but life alone. Neither is He strength and weakness, but strength alone. He is not love hate but love alone.” *
* (Prologue #2 P105)