by Kevin Burton
There is a book that has been in my family almost as long as I have. For some reason I thought of it this week.
It’s called The Treasure Chest. The copyright in 1965, it was edited by Charles L. Wallis.
It has one of those “this book belongs to” stickers in the front. In my mother’s handwriting are my father’s name and her own name.
That fact alone makes the book a treasure to me. There are just a handful of documents remaining that bear both names, the divorce papers among them.
But it’s got me thinking about the word “treasure” as I make the case for the Bible as the one true treasure chest.
One of the annual fundraising events for the non-profit I ran for seven years was a garage sale. Some friends of ours knew everything about how to make garage sales work. The first year I was amazed to see a huge heap of junk turn into about $2,000.
I used to call the discarded items we collected and sold, “treasures.” That of course, was marketing. To most objective observers we had mostly junk.
The word treasure is a noun and a verb. You could come to our sale, walk past a lot of junk and have your eyes fasten on that certain something.
When you pick it up, it becomes a treasure and you treasure it, at least enough to part with fifty cents or a dollar to get it.
What is it in life that you treasure?
So back to this book. The Treasure Chest is a book of collected feel-good quotes.
Let’s say someone comes to you and says, “Our graduation speaker had a family emergency and had to back out. Can you come and speak to our seniors?”
You’d think “wow I only have a couple of days and I don’t have anything prepared.”
But if you had this book you’d be set. You could easily scrape something together in an hour or two.
This book looks like a human treasure chest would look. It has a lot of weighty thoughts of man with a good coating of religion.
In a preface, Wallis quotes King Solomon, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” The quotation is from Proverbs 25:11 KJV.
You can open the book, pluck some wisdom like plucking an apple and enjoy it. It’s hard to speak against a book like this.
But the danger is, this “wisdom” sits free floating, removed from the Bible, outside the authority of God.
The book is made up of 41 sections from “achievement” to “work” with sayings pertinent to their category.
From the “character” section: “The most consummately beautiful thing in the universe is the rightly fashioned life of a good person,” George Herbert Palmer.
From the “immortality” section: “Our Creator would never have made such lovely days and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal,” Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Don’t they sound good? But consider:
The first quote begs the questions, who is defining beautiful, rightly fashioned and good. The second quote leaves us with lovely days as the evidence for God’s intentions for us. Also, who’s defining lovely?
You may say both contain truth, but why not get the straight story on such things from God himself, in His word, the Bible?
The Treasure Chest isn’t necessarily the worst book ever. But you have to take what you read there, or in this blog, or anywhere, and compare it to what God has to say.
The Bible calls this discernment.
If CBS television runs nine seasons worth a show called “Touched by An Angel,” that is supposedly about God and heaven but never once names the name of Jesus Christ, is that a good show or a dangerously bad show? Discernment.
The Bible is the ultimate treasure chest. In this country it’s available 24/7. It validates or invalidates any other book you put next to it. It’s treasure you can take to the Bank of Heaven. But it’s not to be mixed with man’s feel-good best wishes.
Rev. 22: 18-19 (KJV) warns us “ For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”