Treasures in Heaven

The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.” -Exodus 14:15 

Dear members and friends,

At times, we tell ourselves, “Things cannot get any worse.” Then, the next challenge comes with even harder circumstances. The Israelites in Exodus 14 were in such a situation. Right after they left Egypt, the Pharaoh’s mighty army chased after them. As they were running away from the violent threat, they found themselves blocked by the big Red Sea. They left Egypt following Moses to escape slavery and forced labor, but now their fate seemed to be either death by the Pharaoh’s army or drowning in the sea. To these fearful people and anxious Moses, God said, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.” Of course to them, going forward meant walking into the sea!  

At times, we might have no other choice but to simply move forward, not because we know for sure that things will get better, but because we believe in God who loves us, and thus always leads us where we should be going. We may think that we are the ones doing all the work while going through a challenging experience. But what we read in Exodus 14 is that God already had a plan for the people and had to encourage them to take the necessary steps themselves. One thing that is very clear in the Bible, yet again, is that the miracle can only be real when the people are willing to cooperate with the work of God.  

At times, we may wonder why we should bother following God, since things from this world seem much more real and provide us with the pleasures that we desire. Undoubtedly, these physical pleasures we enjoy are amazing and powerful and we should remember that Jesus never spoke against having such delights. The central focus of Jesus’ teaching is heaven, and therefore the truth about our true self, which is spirit. Our true self is immortal, meaning it will live forever after our short life on earth. What Jesus teaches is not about giving up delights and pleasures, but finding a way to cultivate everlasting delights and pleasure. Thus, Jesus teaches in Matthew, “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (16:20-21) 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee