Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)
Luke 17:32-33 – Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. (NIV)
During the summer of 1976 and soon after graduating high school, I had the opportunity to travel abroad. Being a young teenager at the time, I did not fully appreciate the significance of many historical places. Of all the interesting sites, however, one made a lasting impression — the ancient ruins of Pompeii.
More than likely, many readers may not have visited Pompeii, but may have seen the unique and fascinating photos of this once flourishing town. Amazingly, from the ancient ruins, archaeologists have reconstructed the everyday lives of the inhabitants. Many artefacts present clues as to what were the most valued and treasured possessions of its people. Frozen in time are the houses, objects, paintings, inscriptions, and graffiti of the individuals who once lived there. In one home in particular, food was still preserved on the table as if it were yesterday. Volcanic ash imprints on many of Pompeii's citizens have forever memorialized their final moments on this earth.
The tale of Pompeii also offers some insight to our Lord's instruction in today's Scriptures. Jesus reveals that where our treasure is, our hearts will be also, and warns us to remember Lot's wife. The Old Testament describes the event: "But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." (Genesis 19:26 NIV) Some commentators believe that she looked back because her heart longed for the treasures left behind. Whatever the reason, Jesus used her as an example to call His followers to relinquish the material things of this world.
James 4:14 – What is your life? You are a mist that appears for awhile and then vanishes. (NIV)
Imagine ourselves as inhabitants of Pompeii, going about our daily routines; then suddenly we vanish. Think for a moment. If archaeologists could reconstruct our lives, what kind of story would they tell? What things do we treasure the most? What examples would we be for future generations were they to reflect upon the lives we now live?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to store treasures in heaven which can never be destroyed. Allow our lives be living testimonials to the incomparable riches of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and the knowledge of You. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.