Finding what matters most comes with testing
by Josh Gonazles
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you” Ps. 9:9-10 (ESV).
What is precious to you? The word “precious” isn’t commonly heard today, possibly because it’s not fully understood. According to my dictionary app, precious means "something of great value, something that’s greatly loved or something that’s highly treasured by someone." It takes time and attentiveness to get to the place where we realize what is truly precious to us. It also takes testing, as nothing is precious to us until we've proven it to be so.
I have to admit that when I hear the word “precious,” I think of Gollum from The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series who would croak out, “My precious.” In this epic fantasy, this creature’s values, trust, hope and identity are found in a ring, and without it he isn’t complete. In the Lord of the Ring trilogy, Gollum is passionate about seizing the “one ring” that was stolen from him and will do anything to regain his “precious.”
King David writes about what is precious to him: God. Even during times of trouble when he is oppressed, David trusts in God and finds his value, identity and treasure in him. From the time he was a young boy shepherding in the fields, he was learning about God by studying his promises. David knows that those who put their trust in God have no need to fear, because God cannot forsake those who seek him.
The Apostle Peter also writes about what is precious to him. Peter speaks about "the precious blood of Christ" (1 Pet. 1:19), describes our faith as being precious (1 Pet. 1:7), calls believers precious (1 Pet. 2:24), refers to Jesus as the precious cornerstone of our faith (1 Pet. 2:6), and tells about God's precious promises (2 Pet. 1:4).
Peter learned from the Master that, "where our treasure is (or we could say, what is precious to us), there our heart will be also" (Matt. 6:19-21). Both David and Peter put their hope, security and trust in the eternal things of God that can never be taken from them.
Many of us are like Gollum. We put too much time and energy into things and are passionate about things that have no eternal value. When temporal things that are precious to us are lost or stolen, we may lose our hope, value and security. Let’s learn from David today and make God “our Precious.” When we do, we will have no need to fear, no matter the opposition we may face.
Josh Gonzales was lead pastor at New Hope Church, a Mennonite Brethren church plant in West Valley City, Utah, that closed in early March.