Do you store up treasure, and if so, what sort? Nehemiah and Ezra have told us of the treasure that was brought back to Jerusalem, and of the things that really mattered. The city walls and gates are now intact, they have held a great feast of tabernacles, they “taught the people … eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Do we have that kind of strength?

Their parents, some of whom had been taken into captivity as young children, had learnt a bitter lesson, the answer to the question that we read in Amos 3 today, “Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? (verse 6). We can add, ‘or allowed it!’ Then, as now, “‘They do not know how to do right’, declares the LORD” (verse 10).

We also read Paul’s concluding chapter of his first letter to Timothy. He counsels him to teach the believers at Ephesus, using words which are appropriate for us, that they should not “set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches (in gaining them or keeping them) but on God, who richly provides us with everything (that God sees as essential) to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (6:17-19).

Do we see “that which is truly life?” Let us all check how much “treasure” we have stored up – and live so that we keep adding to it.