“The Lord has declared today that you are His people, His own special treasure”
The call came out of the blue on a sunny summer morning. Two of our kids had been in a serious car accident, four hours away from home. They were older teens and had been returning home from a trip on their own to see their grandparents. Immediately after receiving that terrifying phone call, my husband and I were in the car and experiencing the longest drive of our lives. We soon found out that, by God’s grace, there were no serious injuries; but during that long ride I had a lot of time to think about what we treasure, and why.
The car they were driving was completely totaled. It was a good family car, and we valued it highly because it was reliable and enabled our daughter to get to work. That day, however, the car was the last thing on our minds in terms of something that we treasured. Before I received that phone call, I was treasuring the prospect of a rare day at home alone with no commitments on my calendar. After the phone call, that “treasure” was meaningless and quickly forgotten. In countless other ways during that trip, I was reminded of how many things lose their value when compared to the lives of those we treasure.
In the New Testament, Paul describes believers as “His very own people” (Titus 2:14). In the Greek, this phrase is identical to the phrase used six different times in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) where God calls the Israelites “His own special treasure.” 1
God treasures every part of His creation, but the consistent thread throughout all of Scripture is the deeply personal attachment God has to His children.
In Luke 15:8-10, Jesus tells the story of a woman who lost a coin. It says, “…suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?” After she finds the coin she throws a party, which Jesus likens to the rejoicing in heaven over the repentance of one lost sinner.
Jesus was telling this story in response to complaints that “tax collectors and other notorious sinners” were coming to listen to Him teach (Luke 15:1); and the language He uses tells us that the lost coin was a drachma, which was equivalent to a full day’s wage. Jesus doesn’t just say that the woman had a bunch of coins; He was specific in identifying all ten coins as being of equal value, with the implication being that all ten coins were equally worthy of being sought. Whether a tax collector, a “notorious sinner,” or a self-righteous Pharisee; all are treasured in God’s eyes, and all are equally in need of being restored to the hand of the Master when lost.
The parable also shows the purposeful intensity of the woman’s actions: she lights a lamp, sweeps the entire house, and searches carefully until her mission is accomplished. In the same way, Jesus wholeheartedly pursues and searches out His treasured ones who are lost and helpless.
My husband and I would have moved heaven and earth that summer day to get to our kids; not because we value their contributions to our family, but because we unreservedly treasure them as our beloved children. Neither does God call me His special treasure because of my good works or because I managed to somehow find my own way to Him. In fact, Deuteronomy 7:7-8 says that you and I were chosen not because of anything we have done, but “…rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you.”
The lesson, then, is two-fold: to those who are lost, Jesus invites you to be found; to become “His own special treasure” by being in relationship with Him. To those already securely in the Master’s hand, our part is not to rest self-satisfied, but to follow our Savior’s example in seeking and welcoming the lost ones.
Because we are all treasured.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” (I John 3:1)
“For of all the things our minds can think about God, it is thinking upon His goodness that pleases Him the most and brings the most profit to our soul. For we are so preciously loved by God that we cannot even comprehend it. No created being can ever know how much and how sweetly and tenderly God loves them. It is only with the help of His grace that we are able to persevere in spiritual contemplation with endless wonder at His high, surpassing, immeasurable love which our Lord in His goodness has for us.” –Julian of Norwich
1. Vincent's Word Studies