Sunday, August 28, 2005

Pursue Heavenly Treasures

A House of Gold by Hank Williams:

Some people cheat, they steal and lie
For wealth and what it will buy
Don't they know on judgment day
All the gold and silver melt away

What good is gold and silver too
If your heart's not pure and true
Sit and hear me when I say
You better get down on your knees and pray

I'd rather be in a deep dark grave
And know that my poor soul was saved
Than livin' in this world in a house of gold
And deny my God and loose my soul

Some people cheat, they steal and lie
For wealth and what it will buy
Don't they know on judgment day
All the gold and silver melt away

Performed by Tim O'Brien and Darrel Scott
real time (Full Light Records, 2005)

Sometimes Godly wisdom comes from a sea of hurt and suffering. A nugget of truth comes from the life of the person who let his life fall into sin and fast living.

It's so easy to listen to artists like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson. I enjoy their music because it expresses the true sorrows of this life. Their music reminds me that life is fragile and doomed to failure when you fail to include God.

These artists often chronicled their lives through music. They'd expressed sorrow and wayward living in one song. The next song would express a faint understanding of faith, repentance and hope.

Your heart will follow your treasure. That's the inherent message in "A House of Gold." Maybe Jesus' words flowed through Hank's mind when wrote, "What good is gold and silver too if your heart's not pure and true."

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus instructs His disciples that Godly life is often reduced to the choices we make in life. He says those "who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6) will be "filled."

Riches are no different. I'm not aware of any passage where Jesus or His apostles instruct us to turn our backs on money. Instead the emphasis is a matter of loyalty.

"Moth and rust destroy riches" (Matthew 7:19), often long before you're called to give an account for your life. Stock market crashes and $65 a barrel oil prices exhaust monetary recourses. Thieves steel and friends mislead.

What good is gold if you don't trust God? The central point of Jesus' message on riches is this: "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 7:19-21).

Hank had a way of expressing life's bumpy road. I know little of Hank's faith and nothing about his status with God, but he knew something about the futility of worldly pursuits.

Hank gave valuable advice at this point in his life, advice that reflects Jesus' words: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be" (Matthew 7:21).

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