We are studying the Sermon on the Mount for Sunday School. It's been interesting to restudy and to hear again Jesus' approach to relating with God and people.
Sometimes I want to stand on my chair and wave my arms around and shout to everyone, "This is not about works and legalities! This is Jesus speaking, folks, and He's saying how The Kingdom works inside of you!"
But then I have to stop and think that maybe I'm the only one finally getting smart and seeing it better this time. Perhaps the rest of you know all of this already. Good for you!
I've been noticing for several years that prayer is more the relationship/dialogue between the Father and me inside where the thinking and feelings happen than about organized prayer lists. Inside my heart and mind the faintest longings and motives are met more than half way by a loving, sovereign God taking care of everything even before we really know our need. It is so much more than kneeling by the bed at night, though that still seems needful and restful.
"Sometimes the situation has gotten so bad that the only thing I have left is prayer!" Isn't that about the stupidest thing that has ever been said?! And I've said that! As if I had anything else worthy in the first place or that I even wanted anything else. And I also realize in those times that He is patient and kind.
When we studied fasting I hit the same wall that I always do. I'm not impressed with the usual fasting teaching fare that gets passed out as the possible interpretation of this scripture. It is like someone totally unrelated to the family trying to describe what the Graber's do for their family devotions without ever having been in on it and then instructing everyone that perceived pattern as the way to do family devotions, promising clear thinking and a more healthful lifestyle. Sometimes I think Jesus must shake His head at our poor, funny ways of trying to "live out" the sermon on the mount under our own legal steam.
So what do I "believe" about fasting? Frankly, I don't think Jesus was trying to teach the supposed mechanics of fasting in that scripture. I think He was trying to get rid of the whole obvious exercise of the Pharisee's tradition of fasting out loud, so to speak. I think Jesus assumed we would discover fasting through a relationship with the Father because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to not abuse it with a lot of showy stuff.
Sure enough, when I got to the treasures in heaven verse there were more discoveries. You get a few clues, which are these. Treasures in heaven can't be stolen. Treasures in heaven won't rust. They won't rot. They need no guarding. They are lay-up-able. And they are accumulative. And they'll grab your heart and keep it.
I knew Jesus hadn't really changed the subject when he shifted from Treasure to God and mammon. It was enlightening to think about what treasures in heaven were not, from the new angle. Not money. And not things. As in, not earthly wealth kept to ourselves and not earthly possessions valued only as such.
Treasures In Heaven
~ Relationships. People. That's why God puts such a premium on one anothering.
~ Our faith.
~ Salvation of our souls.
~ Our children's souls, too.
~ Our tears. He keeps those in a bottle, says The Poet.
~ The prayers of the saints. Those are heaven's potpourri/incense in golden bowls. Revelation 5:8
~ Helping the poor.
~ etc, ad infinitum
It is just as impossible to create a comprehensive list of Treasures in Heaven as it is to corral a concise description of heaven itself. But then consider the Creator and King of all Heaven. Hallelujah!