Too Treasured
By Anthony Casperson

“Alright, what’s this inventory system like?”

If you pick up a number of video games, especially RPGs, this is a question that’ll come up early on in playing it. Certainly, it’s not the first question to ask. And though the management of one’s inventory won’t make or break a video game, it’ll definitely add air of exasperation if not done well.

My preferred method is the “magically-infinite backpack” where you can just keep stuffing more junk in, knowing that one day those 999 flowers will come in handy…maybe. There’s also a weight-based system where penalties will be incurred if the limit is exceeded, such as slower movement or total inability to walk.

But the type of inventory management system that I have the most trouble with—and hopefully some of you agree with me—is the limited slot system. Your character can hold a maximum number of unique items. Something like 15, or 25, or 50. And it’s a pain to find the increased carrying capacity items that add a tiny bit more space.

You want to be prepared for anything, so you keep what you think are the bare necessities. The most treasured of commodities. But then you get to a point where you find something of ultimate importance for the game, and you now need to decide which of the “necessities” you need to rid yourself of so that you can carry this new important item. Which treasure is the least treasured?

The decision can take tens of minutes, even an hour, as you read all of the descriptions, try to figure out which of the items can be reacquired easily, and finally resort to deciding which one is actually less of a necessary treasure than you’d thought before.

Or you throw down that newly-discovered, important thing because you believe that there’s absolutely nothing you can part with. And you miss out on the needed item.

The unfortunate thing for us is that reality is much more like that latter type of inventory management system. There’s only so much time or space or energy in our lives for all of the things that we want. And we have to decide what to put down or rid of ourselves in order to continue on. What do we need to treasure?

It’s something that a certain man came to see when he approached Jesus in Mark 10:17-22 and he made the worse decision. Those who have been around the bible for a while might know this man as “the rich, young ruler” because there are no other descriptors given to us for the man among the Gospels in which we see him. But we’ll just use the term “the man” to describe him.

In the passage, the man came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. What was the main quest for this life with God? Jesus runs through a few of the Ten Commandments. (It’s not that Jesus is advocating having to obey the whole of the Mosaic Law. This is just shorthand for the perfect life required of all who try to earn their own path to God. The perfection that only Jesus was capable of. The rest of us don’t need to work for our inheritance in the kingdom because Jesus paid for it. And we need only to bow before the cross and submit to his payment.)

At Jesus’ listing of the items, the man pulled up his religious backpack’s item menu and checked for the items. Yep. Got it. There’s one right there. That one too. Mm-hmm. The man puffed out his chest, beaming with pride. “I have all of those things.”

But then Jesus laid out one last thing. And you can almost see the man vibrating in excitement.

Jesus tells the man to sell everything that he has and give it to the poor. The man looks at his bulging inventory, including the massive amount of money that he’s acquired, and finds himself believing that everything in his inventory was a necessity to him. There was no more room in there, and it was all “necessary treasure.”

So, he turned from the treasure that Jesus showed him and left without it.

Most people look at the passage and think of this as only talking about money. As if money is the only thing that can keep us from a proper relationship with Jesus. But the truth is that there are a number of “treasures” that can keep us from engaging with God’s desire for our lives. Relationships, activities, habits, and much more.

Jesus’ point here isn’t for all of us to sell off everything and give to the poor. Rather, for us to look at our relational backpack, find the “treasures” that aren’t really valuable to us in our life for his glory and our growth, and then rid ourselves of them.

So what is that “one thing you lack” that we need to deal with? What is keeping us from fulfilling to the utmost the main quest of life with God? What is too treasured in your life?

The answer won’t be easy to admit. And will force us to let go of things that we’ve clung to for most of our lives. But trust me, the treasure Jesus offers will be worth so much more. Don’t leave it behind like the man who will forever be known by his rejection of Jesus instead of even his own name.