Today Morley takes us through a discussion of the material world. One of Christ's most famous lessons is found in Matthew's record of the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:19-20, he helped us to understand that all of the treasures on earth can deteriorate. They can be destroyed. They can be stolen. Treasures in heaven are beyond these forces. They are eternal.
Morley also helps us understand that we don't have the time or ability to create treasures in both places. The things we have on earth are incidental. It is not wrong to have them, but our goal must be to seek heaven first.
I gathered stanzas from several hymns that mention "things." Here are a few lessons from them:
Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise ye! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three in One!
O praise ye! O praise ye!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
(All Creatures of Our God and King, v. 7)
Lesson: Things are here to glorify God.
All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful:
the Lord God made them all.
(All Things Bright and Beautiful, refrain)
Lesson: God made all of those things. Those things are not gods.
O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show
and cause us in her ways to go.
(O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, v. 2)
Lesson: God placed his order over the universe. We should follow the path of the knowledge of God.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
(When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, v. 2)
Lesson: This hymn was written by Isaac Watts. It is one of my favorites, and was one of Charles Wesley's favorites, too. Charles Wesley wrote thousands of hymns. Only Fanny Crosby is credited with writing more. Yet we are told that Charles said that he would give up all the hymns he had ever written if only he could have written this one. The lesson in this stanza is that we must be willing to give up everything in the material world to accept the gift of Christ's blood. Nothing else that we have is worth boasting.
Let us take up the cross
till we the crown obtain,
and gladly reckon all things loss
so we may Jesus gain.
(And Are We Yet Alive, v. 6)
Lesson: A good Charles Wesley hymn. In the 1980s the title of this hymn was used as a theme to emphasize the need for revitalization of faith in the Methodist church. It recognizes again that we must be willing to give up all "things" to find our life in Christ.
Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face;
here would I touch and handle things unseen;
here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
and all my weariness upon thee lean.
(Here, O My Lord, I See Thee, v. 1)
Lesson: Ah. Things that are good. Things "unseen." May we all give up those things that we see, touch, and feel in favor of those things unseen. Horatius Bonar was not usually viewed as a great hymn writer, but in this one, "Here, O My Lord, I See Thee," he leads us to very nearly see the face of God, to touch the "things" that are faith, to grasp grace, and to rest upon the strength of God himself.
Material things form treasures on earth. Unseen things form treasures in heaven. We cannot have both. We must surrender one. Don't surrender the heavenly treasure.
Dear Lord, thank you for this world filled with the wondrous things that you have created. Let me see them for what they are--your creations, not my treasures. It is so easy for me to become caught up in the material things around me. Give me wisdom to surrender them and to focus instead on treasures in heaven. Amen.
Grace and peace--