“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one.”
–Isaiah 45:3 (NLT)
“Thank you all for coming to our third annual Hustlers and Smoothies Convention!” the moderator says. “Now I’d like to present two brothers who should be familiar to you. Before turning the microphone over to them, I would like to say a few words.
“These two men are truly legends in their own right, and they have motivated many people to write checks or reveal their credit card info. Therefore, without any further introduction, I present our champions, Scam and Spam Payne!”
Two slick salesmen appear onstage, bowing and soaking up the applause of their fellow con-men. Finally, one of the brothers, Scam, addresses the audience.
“Thank you for those words, Mr. Con! Spam plays a crucial part in maintaining and generating our cash flow, but as the older brother, I will lead. This business is family-owned and opperated, and I’m proud to say it’s an international concern.
“While I can’t take credit for its beginning, I can tell you in all humility that I have been the father of one or two very successful marketing techniques. Let me tell you about them. I promise you that with the implementation of these principles, you will see a drastic increase in revenue.
“I was sitting in my office one day, going over the books. I wondered how we would make ends meet, let alone survive the depression at that time. Then, out of the blue, I had a brilliant idea–if I do say so myself.
“My brother Spam wasn’t with me at the time, so I called in my assistant, and we decided to give it a test run.
“we picked up the phone and called people at suppertime. We told them about the benefits of investing their money in our new project. Of course, there was no project, but I was ecstatic about our phone-call scheme.
“At our next board meeting, I proposed a new department in which the phone would be a major marketing tool. After delivering my report to those assembled, everyone voted, and the consensus was unanimous. Our new department was installed, and we began to hire under-aged kids at less than minimum wage.
“Telemarketing was slow at first, but business picked up as more and more people caught the vision. I am proud to say that it is currently genarating 1 billion dollars an hour, and we only project an increase on the horizon.
“Now, however, I will tell you briefly about my second venture. Actually, it is really a division of the first, but it’s much more cost-effective. We have recorded a cheerful artificial voice and given it a name, and this voice has proven to be extremely successful. That way, we don’t have to hire as many people to man the phones. This cuts down on overhead and gives us more time to go out into the field.
“But I have said enough, so now here is my brother, Spam! He has built a new devision of his own, and I think you’re going to love learning about it.”
“Hi there!” the younger brother says, grinning from ear to ear. When the applause has calmed down, he begins his tale.
“Scam had seen some of my work, and he had been after me trying to form a partnership with him for a long time. So one day, while waiting for clients, I told him my dream. I expected him to brush it off, but he was very supportive, and he eagerly let me use the company computer to try my idea out.
“A few months later, I came on board, and Scam said that as long as I was productive, I could head up email marketing. Our new book, titled There For the Taking, is truly a steal, and you can take it off the shelf at any bookstore.”
If you think you’d like to get rich in a hurry, you might want to think again. The riches we accumulate apart from God are often like the two brothers represented here. While they may have ideas which shine for a while, they don’t last, and the fleeting glitter wears off. Like children discarding a toy that has lost its appeal, we flit from one thing to another as we try to fill the empty void inside us.
That is why Jesus put it this way: Storing treasures on earth, where theft and decay reign, is both foolish and futile. Instead, store your treasures up in heaven.
In spite of this declaration, we tend to fix our eyes on the world around us. Do we really believe the temporal things we own or lust after can be here today and gone tomorrow?
If we do, you and I need to fix our eyes on the eternal, because the eternal will last when all else fades away. To put it bluntly, earthly wealth, like a get-rich-quick scam or a spam email, promises much more than it delivers. God, on the other hand, holds all the riches of the universe, blessing us accordingly.
Therefore, we need to enter God’s operating room, and allow Him to perform divine heart surgery on us. (By the way it’s covered by the Solid Rock Insurance Agency on the Eternal Life plan.)
If we were to enter this operating room, we might see the surgeon skillfully using his divine scalpel to bring healing. In order to do that, however, he must cut away at the offending tissue which impedes recovery. Then the wound is carefully bound up, and healing can take place.
In the same way, Jesus–the divine surgeon–uses His Word, which the Bible calls the Sword of the Spirit. God’s Word cuts into our hearts so Jesus can begin removing the offending sinful tissue, and our healing can begin. Then we are carefully wrapped up, and the surgery is over.
But there is also a point of divergence here, which we need to look at closely. Unlike an earthly surgeon who binds us up and leaves us in skillful hands to recover, Jesus holds us in His arms, and tenderly carries us throughout our lives. Therefore, we are confronted with one important question which, of corse, only leads to others.
This question can be broken into two parts. First, if I don’t know Christ, will I open my heart and let Him carry me today? If I do know Him, the question that looms before me is: How does that knowledge affect me? The same love which carries me needs to motivate me to bear the load for my brother or sister.
Once I know how much Christ loves me, I also learn that He is the embodiment of the riches we have spoken about. This, in turn, leads me to seek my fulfillment in Him, instead of looking for earthly wealth or for man’s acceptance and approval.
As your delight and joy in Him increases, the need for popularity and recognition on earth will begin to pale in comparison. Since we are all on this journey, though, we need to look at the last point of today’s blog entry.
Like being exposed to a contagious disease, we are all susceptible to the enticement of sin. Therefore, we need to continually allow Christ to clean us from the pollutants of this world, and purify us by looking at the treasure found only in Him.
As we discover new riches hidden in His Word and filter our circumstances through it, each day can become progressively more joyful. So instead of setting your sights on scams and get-rich-quick schemes, look above and catch a new vision of truth today.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.