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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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MISSING THE TREASURE

Everyone has heard, "One person's junk is another person's treasure." Something which seems worthless to one person may be viewed as valuable by another. The popularity of garage sales and flea markets in our country attests to this.

An Associated Press story a few years ago told of a man in Texas who purchased a 1,905 carat sapphire at a gem show for $10.00. How? He bypassed the professional dealers and went to an area where the amateur dealers were displaying their merchandise. He found the stone in a box of rocks priced at $15.00. He realized that the rock was valuable and inquired about it. The dealer cut the price to $10.00! The purchase was made. The sapphire was later appraised at $2.28 million!

The uncut sapphire probably passed through the hands of many people before someone recognized its value. Everybody Would love an opportunity to purchase a sapphire for a fraction of its worth. The problem is that many of us might not be able to recognize it if we held it.

Today, many fail to recognize a treasure much more valuable than sapphires. They have it within their grasps, yet do not realize its worth. That treasure, of course, is salvation.

Salvation is much more valuable than any earthly treasure. One reason is that earthly treasures, at most, can only last for our short lifetime. The old expression. "You can't take it with you," is certainly true. Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for ourselves   treasures in heaven.   en. where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Mt. 6:19, 20). Another reason salvation is more valuable than earthly treasure is that even in our own lifetime our treasures can lose their value, or we can lose them. The above passage reminds us of this. While it is true that a child of God can fall from grace (I Cor. 10: 12; Gal. 5:4), his salvation cannot be taken away by another person unless he allows it. A Christian who falls does so because he chooses to serve the devil instead of God. Perhaps the most important reason salvation is more valuable is that earthly treasures, by themselves, cannot bring happiness. We often hear of wealthy people who are unhappy. Salvation, on the other hand, can bring happiness in this life (note Phil. 4:4. 10) and in the life to come (Mt. 25:23).

In the latter part of First Corinthians I Paul said that the Jews asked for signs, and the Greeks sought after wisdom. The Jews had received many signs (miracles) by  Christ and others. However, they were not satisfied. The Greeks were only interested in the philosophy of this w orld. Consequently, the preaching of Christ crucified %\as "unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness" ( 1:23). These tw o groups had access to something very valuable. They heard the preaching of Christ and could have become Christians. They could have been saved. Instead, the\ re  jeced God's Word, which is described as "the power of God unto salvation" (Rm.  1: 16) and as that which is "able to save your souls" (Jose 1: 2 1 ). They misjudged its alure when they thought it was worthless. They failed to see it for the "treasure" that it was.

Many others, however, viewed Paul's message of the crucified Christ as God's power for salvation (I Con 1:24). It continues to be recognized by those with honest and pure hearts today.

The man who sold the sapphire worth more than two million dollars for $10.00 lost quite a sum of money. However, let us not look down on him. Millions today are doing the same thing, but with something much more valuable. They have an opportunity to obey the Word of God and become Christians. Instead, they reject God's Word and follow their own interests. People who reject God's Word not only lose out on heaven but are doomed to hell for eternity (Mt. 25:46).

Have you found  the pearl  of  great rice  (Aft. 13:46)?

-Mike Johnson