Discover the Treasure within You
Part 1: Introduction

October 7, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church

 

2 Timothy 1:1-14

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

2To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3I am grateful to God--whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did--when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy.

5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.

6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands;

7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

8Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God,

9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher,

12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.

13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

 

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning!

 

This morning we’re beginning a sermon series entitled “Discover the Treasure within You.” And this is the first part, our introduction to the series.

 

If you and I were to go to a rally for our favorite presidential candidate, whoever that may be, we might see throngs of people gathered ’round. Maybe we’d have a backpack on, or we’d be holding a shopping bag. And we’d want to get close to the candidate, to shake his or her hand. But as we got closer, we might find a bit of an obstacle – a rather large gentleman with a suit and dark tie and sunglasses standing in front of us, wondering why we were coming so close. It might be difficult to shake hands with that candidate.

 

Why? Because the candidate is being guarded! You see, that person might become the next president of the United States. That person might become a national treasure and the hope of America’s future. And so, America guards those people.

 

Oh, my friend, what if I were to tell you today that there is something within you that is tremendously precious, absolutely worth guarding, something that makes you very, very rich whether your bank account is large or small, whether you live in a little castle or a humble home? It doesn’t matter. If you realize you have this treasure, you are very rich indeed.

 

Take a look at today’s Scripture reading, this precious letter of Paul to his son in the faith, Timothy. He greets Timothy with enormous love and encouragement, and then, in verse 14, he says, “Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.” I tell you, when I read that line, it just captured my imagination. What is Paul talking about? What is this good treasure that’s been entrusted to Timothy? …that’s been entrusted to you? …that’s been entrusted to me? What is this treasure that we need to take care of and guard and discover?

 

My friends, I would suggest this: Picture, if you will, a beautiful, clear, sparkling diamond, full of beauty and radiance and light. And on the facets of that diamond, picture these letters – F A I T H. Faith. Take that diamond and put it into your heart. Oh, my friends, that is your treasure. That is the treasure that Paul is speaking of to Timothy, that priceless treasure within your heart that makes you abundantly rich. The treasure of faith is yours.

 

Someone spoke with me after the first service today and said, “Pastor, you know, I think I’m just beginning to uncover that diamond inside my heart.” And I said, “Bravo to you, friend. May it be ever more so.” All of us need to unearth the diamond, to brush away the dust of doubt and self-doubt and let that diamond shine. Oh, my friends, there’s a treasure inside your heart that is priceless – your faith in God.

 

This morning I would just like to talk with you about what your treasure says about you.  My friends, your treasure says that you are connected. You are connected to God Almighty. When you dust off the diamond in your heart and realize that you have this priceless treasure, you understand that you are a child of the most high God. You are a person of worth, a person of dignity, a person with a mission, a person with potential, because you are connected to God. Yes, you have earthly parents, but you also have a parent in the heavenly Father, in God Himself. That’s what faith says to you – you are connected to Him.

 

Second, your faith, your treasure, your diamond within, says that you are connected to all Christians throughout time. You are related to all the great people of faith throughout history, through the diamond within you. Let’s see what Paul said about that to Timothy. In verse 5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and now, I am sure, lives in you.” Timothy is connected to his mother and grandmother and all the people of faith through the ages, through that treasure within.

 

And so are you. Who are the people that blessed you? Who are your personal saints? Who are the people that helped you brighten and enlighten the diamond inside you? Was it your mom? Was it your grandmother? Was it a Sunday School teacher or a minister or an aunt or an uncle? Who was it who let the light of their faith shine so that your light could, too? You’re connected to them, my friends, whether they are here on earth or gone to live with Jesus. You are connected through the treasure of your faith.

 

And also, isn’t it exciting to know that we are connected to Christians all over the world, whose hearts are beating today and whose souls are turned toward God, on this Holy Communion day, on this world communion day? My friends, you are connected to Christians in New York and Montreal; you are connected to Christians in Dublin and London; you are connected to Christians in Dresden and Berlin and Vienna and St. Petersburg; you are connected to Christians in Sydney; you are connected to Christians in Zaire and Sierra Leone, Africa; you are connected to Christians in Beijing and Hawaii; you are connected to Christians all around the world.

 

And if you were to go to another service of worship, say, in Amsterdam, as I have done in years past, you might not understand the language that was being spoken, but you would absolutely understand what was going on. You would understand the joy in the song. You would understand “Jesu Crist”; you would understand the faith that is being expressed by these Christians. You would understand the handclasp of fellowship. You might even share the wonderful coffee after the service in the Amsterdam church, just as we do here in Belle Mead.

 

Everywhere we go, we are connected to those of the Christian faith. Isn’t that a treasure? Isn’t that a blessing? Isn’t it wonderful when you connect with another Christian, a person who had been a stranger up until then, but because of your faith you know that there is a wonderful spiritual connection? Oh, my friends, you are rich indeed if you have discovered this diamond within. And if not, what a great time to begin! It’s there – it just needs dusting off and encouraging and lighting up.

 

Through these weeks in October, please join us as we talk about what faith is and what it can mean to us. Faith is the treasure within you. Let us celebrate it, lift it up, and guard it well, because God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.

 

© 2007 Anthony J. Godlefski