All the World and its Splendor

Posted: November 26, 2013 in The Kingdom Of Heaven
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“We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born.  We can’t take our riches with us.”  (Ecclesiastes 5 :15)

“Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen?  None of us can hold back our spirit from departing.  None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death.  There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle.  And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked.”  (Ecclesiastes 8: 7-8)

“The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing.  They have no further reward, nor are they remembered.  Whatever they did in their lifetime–loving, hating, envying–is all long gone.  They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.”  (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6)

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.”  (Hebrews 11:24-26)

Riches. Treasures. Prizes. Splendor. Rewards.

Is there a single soul who ever lived who was not dazzled by the treasures and pleasures of this world?  The Holy Scriptures say that even Jesus Christ was tempted by Satan over these things: “…the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give to you, he said ‘if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)  If the appeal for these things was strong enough for Satan to try to use it as his trump card in the temptations of Christ, let our eyes be open to understand the threat of these things to our very souls.

Jesus said “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

Our Father in heaven knows how alluring riches and splendor are to us.  He knows how distracting and tempting these beautiful things are.  So he makes us a promise.  Scripture says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”  (1 Corinthians 2:9) Christ himself is our treasure, our reward, our splendor.  Our minds cannot comprehend what this means, but Scripture is clear that nothing can even be compared.

Solomon, the wisest man to live, possessed everything he ever wanted. There was so much splendor in his kingdom that silver was considered almost worthless.  His household of hundreds of people ate their meals and drank their wine from dishware that was pure gold.  “The King made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones” (2 Chronicles 1:15) He was clothed in the finest garments on earth. He had thousands of the most beautiful women in the world.  He had palaces, land as far as the eye could see, and vineyards too many in number to even count.  Kings and queens traveled from all over the world, bringing him the finest gifts their kingdoms had to offer.  There was peace in his kingdom and he was deeply respected all of the days of his reign.  Yet, in the end, he called it all meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 1:2)  He bitterly reflected that it was all temporary; that it wasn’t ever really his.  He had it on loan and could only watch it slip through his fingers.  Solomon died and took none of it with him.

Moses also had all of these beautiful things at his fingertips.  He had all the grandeur of Egypt in the palm of his hand.  To this day, the world marvels at the treasures of Egypt, but Scripture says that when Moses was allowed a glimpse of the great reward ahead, he walked away from all of it and fixed his eyes on the true Prize.

Likewise, Paul, having been shown the heavens, spent the remainder of his days forsaking all this world has to offer.  He was completely and utterly uninterested; instead looking forward to the true Prize that was his reward in heaven. (2 Timothy 4:8)

We must live our lives knowing that all things are temporary and that we will die; this keeps everything in life in perspective.  Our enemy Satan places shiny, tempting, beautiful things before us to try to make us covet and lust after them.  Satan’s mission in this is to steal our rightful inheritance in Christ and destroy us.  We must keep our eyes on the true prize of Christ and not be distracted by the meaningless, temporary treasures and pleasures of this world.  By faith, we are to work in the Kingdom of God, storing up treasures in heaven, where our loving Father holds the key to our reward.

Our salvation is a free gift from God based solely on faith.  Our reward is earned by our good works in the Kingdom of God during our life on earth.  Remember, “on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done.  The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.  The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”  (1 Corinthians 3: 13-15)


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