Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us. (2 Timothy 1:14)
Is there bad treasure?
That was my first thought when I read this verse from 2 Timothy. Timothy is encouraged to “guard the good treasure” entrusted to him, which is the good news of the gospel that he was taught. That “good treasure” needed to be guarded in a world that was somewhat hostile to Jesus, his followers, and The Way. It was like saying, don’t wander, don’t stray, don’t give in to the threats of those who want to take that good treasure away.
But what about “bad treasure?”
At first, we might think no, treasure by its very nature is a good thing. The definition of treasure is something of value, and my first thought was a treasure chest full of precious jewels and gold.
Then I thought about the stories of people who win large lottery jackpots and talk about how it will change their lives, and it does. But not for the better. Not everyone, of course, but many talk about how the newfound treasure attracted people looking for a handout and it turned out to be a big headache or they just blew through the money because they did not know how to handle being wealthy. For some, it turns out to be a bad treasure.
Jesus pointed out that anything we value more than our relationship with God could probably be defined as “bad treasure.” As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The implication is that our hearts should be near to God.
Good treasure draws us closer to the beloved community of God Jesus proclaimed throughout the gospel. Bad treasure, on the other hand, comes between us and that vision of a world made new. And while today the world’s hostility to God’s ways are more covert than in Timothy’s day, we still need to guard the good treasure that Jesus entrusted to us.
What treasure will you guard as we make our way along this journey of life?