“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” — Romans 12:2
Where Is Your Treasure?
One of the perks of working for a summer baseball league team is that I often get to develop relationships with young players years before they (potentially) set foot on a major league field. Way before the spotlight has ever found these young men, I get to be around them for a summer or two and thus learn about them as real people — who they are aside from baseball and what’s important to them.
I recently visited one of these players, who has become a good friend of mine and was invited to major league spring training this year for the first time in his career. For almost four years now, I have shared the world of baseball with him as he has worked his way to this opportunity. I had never gone to spring training before, much less experienced it with somebody I actually knew. I was prepared for a surreal and eye-opening experience that day, but I had no idea just how revealing it would turn out to be.
As I waited outside for my friend to emerge from the clubhouse after practice, I noticed a small crowd had gathered near the door, waiting for any sign of their adored players, so they could request a picture or an autograph. In glancing around the parking lot where the players kept their vehicles, I also saw the evidence of the professional life. The parking lot was filled with expensive cars, including a Ferrari parked in one place and two McLarens sitting next to it. The whole scene spoke of money and fame — two things that come with being a professional athlete. I watched as, one by one, these high-profile players stepped out of the clubhouse and went to their cars, which had already been started by the valet.
My friend came out shortly afterward, and there was a small clamor of requests for his autograph. He signed a couple, then came over to where I was. After taking a quick photo, he suggested we move to a more quiet and private area so we could visit away from the spotlight. We ended up further out in the parking lot. As I continued to watch from a distance as the scene unfolded near the clubhouse, I contrasted the display of image from these big-name players to the picture of contentment that my friend showed. Casually dressed and driving a truck he’d purchased from his dad, it was the perfect example of someone guided by principles not of this world. It showed that this young man is perfectly at peace living his life counter-culturally. And I realized that my friend probably possesses a level of happiness some of these other players may still be searching for because he knows that this world isn’t all there is.
Later that day, as I processed what I’d experienced, it occurred to me how many times in the Bible the subject of treasure comes up. Stories of how you invest what you’ve been given (Matthew 25: 14-30), warnings not to love the world or the things in it (1 John 2:15, Romans 12:2), and cautions against the trappings of prosperity (Matthew 6:19-21) abound. But the one verse in particular that stood out to me was Psalm 62:10: “…If riches increase, set not your heart on them.”
The world and the things in it can be so very enticing. There are many possessions that can look fun and enjoyable. But we must be careful as believers to not let these things become too important to us. To not exalt our own image over the glory of God. To not place too much value in the stuff we own, but rather in the treasures we’re storing up for Heaven. As the book of 1 Timothy tells us, “…we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7). This passage goes on to say that we should be content with what we’ve been given and beware that the rich will fall into much temptation because of their wealth and lack of perspective in how they’ve handled it. Therefore, we Christians must be careful in how we use the financial and material gifts God has blessed us with.
We can each take a lesson from the Apostle Paul when he said he’d learned how to prosper and how to be poor because he’d learned in all things how to be content in His Savior (Philippians 4:11-13). When you know Christ, you possess happiness that nothing on earth can give.
Jesus is clear that believers are to live their lives for something more than just this world. As the late Martyn Lloyd-Jones once remarked, Christians operate in two kingdoms. The temptations of this world will come at us hard and often. And for professional athletes in particular, these pitfalls are more heightened than for others. But, regardless of the lot assigned to us, Christ’s challenge to us is the same: to seek first the Kingdom of God and to find our contentment in Him alone, not in the things or applause of this earth.
— Katherine Singer
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