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What is Most Precious?

What Is Most Precious?

The view-points of worldly people and Christians on what is most precious differ greatly.  This is because the people in the world generally direct their attention to claims and counterclaims of the world.  Their emphasis is on physical dimensions.  Perceptive Christians would, however, take God as their central point and place much importance in the everlasting spiritual glory to come.

I.       The Concept of People in General

To some, money is the most precious thing.  With money, many problems can be solved and many advantages can be gained. Money can buy the heart's desires.  Because of this, people toil, in search of greater prosperity.  A wealthy man has much money, acquires and possesses many things. When asked what he has acquired, he produces an unending list. His heart has become occupied by his wealth and he loses his true self and the true meaning to life.  When asked what himself is, he is left speeches. Money can buy:

food but not appetite; a bed but not sleep;

cosmetics but not beauty;

material enjoyment but not peace;

entertainment but not happiness;

women but not love;

medicine but not health;

a good house but not a good family;

flattery but not respect; 

status but not personality;

academic status (degree) but not education;

books but not knowledge;

a ticket to tour the world but not the ticket into heaven;

the world but not spiritual life.

To others, the most precious thing is knowledge.  With knowledge, under-water tunnels can be designed, men can be sent to other planets, computers to solve complex problems can be invented.  To pursue further knowledge and to satisfy the desire for knowledge, sleep and meals are neglected.  But the wise Israelite King Solomon said 3,000 years ago: "I said to myself, 'I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.' And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly.  I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind." (Eccl 1:16,17).

Knowledge may be able to solve many problems but it can never solve all human problems.

Man comes silently to this earth bringing nothing and leaves silently taking nothing (Eccl 5:I5), in his vain life (Eccl 1:2) full of continuous toil and worries (Ps 90:10).  He can hardly penetrate into the riddles of life: origin of his birth where death leads to, or the true meaning of life. There are infinitely many questions in life that knowledge alone cannot answer.

To others, power is the most precious thing.  A person in authority can command others what to do, is respected and advances his reputation.  Their aim of existence is to satisfy the desire to hold power, devising many ways to obtain even greater power.

Generally speaking, the higher one's status, the greater his power is.  The higher one's status and the greater one's power, the more responsibility and mental burden he must bear.  Likewise, power brings fame.  The greater one's power, the greater his reputation.  But fame and authority can cause jealousy among colleagues.  Enmity can arise from jealousy and bring forth disaster.

The Bible says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city" (Prov 16:32).  A highly cultivated person who is able to control himself is better than an invincible fighter, because one's greatest enemy is in the heart and not the enemy in battle.  Even one with great authority may rule over many but not be able to control his own heart.

II.     The Concept of Christians

For a conscientious Christian, the most precious thing is the Truth.

The reasons are:

The Lord Jesus said, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life which the son of man will give you.  I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (Jn 6:27, 35).  Food which will spoil cannot keep one satisfied.  One eats and is satisfied for a while, but grows hungry before the next meal.  Likewise, fulfilled desires bring temporary satisfaction and happiness, but will be replaced with more desires. With limited ability, time and strength, satisfaction for unlimited desires cannot be attained.  Only the Lord Jesus can grant us eternal satisfaction and true happiness through His spiritual food, the true Gospel which can bring eternal life far exceeding worldly treasure in value (Mt 16:26).  Therefore, Moses, in order to obtain the blessings of eternal life, was willing to leave the treasures and enjoyment of the palace (Heb 11:24-26).  King David did not admire life in the palace and was satisfied with the future resurrection and life with the Lord together forever (Ps 17:15).

In a God-fearing family, each individual, because of the existence of the Truth within, is able to love one another even while leading a simple life.  On the contrary, hatred exists in individuals in a family which does not know God, because they do not have the Truth within them.

            Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatten ox and hatred with it. (Prov 15:17)

The Lord Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28).  'Heavy laden' with the burdens of one's heart are worries, sorrow, pains and troubles.  If we believe in the Lord Jesus as our Savior and accept His Truth, our burdens will be released.  The apostles Paul and Silas were, for example, persecuted and severely beaten up by the people for the Lord, but their hearts were filled with joy (Acts 16:16-26).  The reason: they believed in the Lord Jesus and had the Truth within them.

Solomon pondered upon the afflictions of mankind that he had experienced and perceived and concluded that all was vanity (Eccl 1:2).  On this theme he wrote twelve chapters showing that the pursuit of wealth, material enjoyment, knowledge and power could not solve the vanity of human problems.  He also pointed out the right way of life, saying, only by fearing God and accepting His Truth and performing it, could it really abolish the feeling of vanity and render meaning to life.

Before his conversion, Paul had tried his best to control himself with a determination to forsake evil and turn to good, but because he was bound by the law of sin, he was unable to do the good that he wanted.  He said, "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do… so I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind" (Rom 7:14-23).  After he was chosen by the Lord Jesus and accepted His salvation, all was changed. Through Jesus Christ, he was delivered (Rom 7:24-25).

The Lord's Truth can bring release from the bondage of sin, enabling us to conform to our desires to desert evil, do good, be holy and enjoy freedom in Christ (Jn 8:32; 34, 17:17).

At the time of Lord Jesus' birth, the Holy Spirit led Simeon, a pious man in Jerusalem to meet Jesus.  This old man praised God saying, "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation" (Lk 2:29-30).  Any devout person in receiving the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15), which is also the gospel of salvation (Eph 1:13), can enjoy peace and happiness like Simeon.

The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. (Ps 119:72, 103)

Holy Spirit Monthly

(September 1977)