My dad has a favorite candy. Well, had a favorite candy. (I’m not sure those sticky, chewy candies have as much of a draw as they once had). Tootsie Rolls. As a little girl I would think of my dad every time I would see that little brown, white, and red twisted wrapper. “My daddy would love this.”
In Sunday school or VBS when prizes were awarded, I would reach for that tiny candy (after I claimed my favorite for myself of course. I’m not perfect.) and clench my fingers tight around that special token of my affection. This one was for my dad. I jumped at every opportunity to win a gift for him. My hand stretched up high in the air, trying to be the first to be called on. Fingers running quickly along the pages of my Bible, rushing to be the first to find the assigned passage of Scripture. I just wanted to win that prize. But joy didn't come from the prize. Joy came from the giving of that reward to the one I loved.
This silly little story reminds me of us Christians and our Heavenly Father. In Scriptures, we see God instructing about treasure; teaching us about the importance of eternal rewards.
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Laying up treasures for ourselves. Earning crowns.
In thinking of Heaven, I don’t believe that we will all be lounging on our pile of “treasures” next to our mansion along the streets of gold for the sole purpose of drawing attention to our wealth. I don’t believe I’m going to be inviting Paul or Moses or Billy Sunday over to my mansion to exchange stories of these “treasures”, showing off what I had accumulated from my time on earth. In fact, looking at the guidelines for how we lay up eternal treasure in the first place, I can confidently assume that God would not allow us to brag on the rewards of holy actions done in secret.
Then what does it mean to lay up treasures “for ourselves”? What is the point of earning these treasures if not for status? I dare to guess, it’s so I have something to offer the King who made the eternal joy possible. Not for the accumulation of wealth or for recognition, but for that moment of perfected worship. For the moment my life was made for... for laying those treasures down at Jesus’ feet. The desire to hand over anything worthwhile to the One who is worthy will be immeasurable. And when I’ve laid everything I have at His feet, I have a feeling, I will be feeling my wrists and hands, digging at the ground beneath my feet, scavenging for a leftover bracelet or dust or crumb to gift the King. When my “treasures” have run out, I will still have my new voice which will not run out or grow tired, and I will collapse under the weight of His majesty and whisper “Holy, Holy, Holy” along with the roars of the angels chant. (Is. 6:3) The reward is in the offering up.
I believe that my joy won’t be in the accumulation, it will be in the giving back.
And I never want to run out of tokens of worship to offer to the One who gave His everything for me.
Just as a child bringing candy treasures to her daddy.
The giving is the treasure.
And, just like I joyously know my dad and what he loves, I want to spend all my days understanding my Heavenly Father: Who He and What He loves. I wonder if that’s why there is an eternity? It will probably take that long to know.