But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. 1 Corinthians 4:7
If you were offered a treasure map that leads to unlimited treasure, how much would you be willing to pay?
Well in the verse above we are told that we already have “this treasure in earthen vessels” and it is fairly simple to determine the location of the treasure map.
So the next logical questions are: What is the treasure, and why do so many choose to disregard this treasure and the map that leads to it?
It is also clear that the treasure we speak of here is not gold, silver, Dollars or Euros, but rather knowledge and wisdom which will bring good fortune.
How much would you pay? Here is one example to demonstrate the perceived value of wisdom to some … Billionaire Warren Buffett’s annual lunch auction set a record for a third straight year in 2012 with a winning bid of $3,456,789 and has averaged more than a million a year over the past 13 years.
What would lead someone to pay $3.5 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett … you might ask? What could they hope to receive from Buffett beyond ideas that might bring them future treasure?
My point here is that there are things that are valued by most far beyond worldly treasure. How much do you think the $3.5 million man above would pay in ransom for a loved one; or for a hand, or a foot, or for his health? What if he could be assured that his life would be extended an additional hundred years? What are these things worth?
Paul talks about the treasure he has been given, and that we all have received in chapters 3-5 of 2 Corinthians.
I was recently drawn to this favorite passage as a result of my illness and extended hospital stay. The earthen vessel is our body which is temporary and like a flower withering or wasting away. But the treasure Paul speaks of here is eternal and is being renewed day by day.
Surely anyone can understand this difference. Warren Buffett on his best day has nothing to offer anyone beyond that which is temporary.
And this leads to the reason why many Christians and non-Christians alike do not seek this treasure Paul speaks of here.
They just don’t really believe in the internal presence of the Holy Spirit or the never-ending Truth of God’s Word. Many make a decision for Christ; but rather than be renewed spiritually day by day … they remain in the temporal. They choose to ignore the clear steps to accessing the treasure God promises to us all.
So how would we go about finding this treasure that the apostle refers to here? The steps are clear and this treasure is available to all.
The first step is to move from the temporal to the eternal in our heart and mind. This is accomplished the moment you receive Jesus Christ’s free gift of eternal life in heaven.
When we believe in Jesus Christ and His promises, we are not judged and receive forgiveness and eternal life. Those who do not believe come under judgment and receive the consequences of unbelief.
You do not need to do anything to receive this free gift. Salvation is by Grace and Grace alone. “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” Romans 11:6
Eternal life in heaven is the most amazing treasure ever; but I am convinced that it is not the treasure the apostle talks about here. Paul is referring to an internal spiritual reality here and now. He says we have this treasure in earthen vessels. These earthen vessels are not with us in heaven. We will have a new heavenly body. “Old things pass away and new things have come.”
So what is the treasure we all possess?
Well the answer to this question is made clear when the scripture says: “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” 1 Corinthians 3:16. The key words here are: “yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”
Paul explains more here: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
One of the first things people will say is that the Bible is so hard to understand.
But Jesus made it clear that it does not need to be this way when He gave us this promise: "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [that is] the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, [but] you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17
This is the treasure Paul speaks of: God’s Word … the gospel; plus the indwelling Holy Spirit who is with each of us forever. When we seek to be transformed … the Holy Spirit will guide us into all knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
So how does this compare to lunch with Warren Buffett?
This question was answered thousands of years ago as well: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
God Bless you my friends, Bob