What Do You Value the Most?
Published 2:41 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2022
While watching the evening news last week on one of the local channels a segment was aired about making preparation for retirement. They gave some advice and presented some financial figures to go along with the discussion, including how much a twenty-four year old would have to put back each month for forty years to acquire one million dollars for the senior season of life. Just in case you are wondering, I did not do that and the monthly amount they stated as necessary to achieve the goal would have been out of the question when I was that age considering my earnings in that day. Nevertheless, it was a good reminder of the value of planning ahead and accumulating some resources, if possible, for a later time when it will be greatly needed. Even so, material things must be kept in the proper perspective and not viewed as our primary reason for existence. Christ instructs us in Matthew 6 concerning what is of greatest value: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (verses 19-20, New International Version). His statement is not an edict against putting reasonable resources aside for a later time, but it has to do with what is of most value to us. In fact, the Lord stated in the next verse: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Those statements should cause us to do some heart searching to see what is of most value to us and to see what our real treasures in life are.
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, the writer—very likely King Solomon, the son of David–gives us a glimpse of one who did some deep searching of his life to see what was truly important. He was well off and of great authority, which enabled him to experience a lot of things in his search for meaning in life. Yet, outside of a genuine relationship with God, he found that much of his pursuit of fulfillment came up empty, meaningless, and like chasing after the wind.
During the course of his searching, however, he discovered a number of things of greater value than fine earthly treasures. Among them is the importance of keeping our promises to God. In Ecclesiastes 5:4 we are reminded that “When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.” It is unwise to make heartless and thoughtless promises to God that are never kept.
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Not only is keeping our promises to God something that should be truly important to us, but it is imperative for us to always remember that the material things of this life cannot satisfy the needs deep within our hearts. Ecclesiastes 5 expresses an important truth in verse 10: “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” It does not take a lot of searching to find those persons who are so obsessed with financial and material wealth that they allow it to be the driving force of their lives. Proverbs 23:4 warns us “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.”
With God’s help we must continually allow our hearts and desires to be searched by God to see that we are valuing the things that are important to Him and nurturing to our relationship with Him. King Solomon searched long and hard– with a great deal of frustration at times—yet when it was all said and done he arrived at a most accurate summary of what is really important in life: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Revering and obeying God–what a most simple and accurate conclusion about what is most valuable in life!