Randy Alcorn, a popular author, wrote about Jesus’ teaching on the treasure principle. In this he described how to discover the secret of joyful living. He told of a trip that he took to Cairo, Egypt, with his wife when they were going to visit several missionaries who were bringing the gospel to the Muslim community. They drove past a sign that opened to a plot of overgrown grass. It was a graveyard for American missionaries. A friend and guide with them pointed to a sun-scorched tombstone that read: "William Borden, 1887–1913."
As Randy Alcorn wrote, “Borden, a Yale graduate and heir to great wealth, rejected a life of ease in order to bring the gospel to Muslims. Refusing even to buy himself a car, Borden gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars to missions. After only four months of zealous ministry in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and died at the age of 25.”
From Borden's grave Randy and his wife were driven to the Egyptian National Museum. The King Tut exhibit was mind-boggling. Tutankhamen, the boy king, was only 17 when he died and was buried with solid gold chariots and thousands of golden artifacts. The Egyptians believed in an afterlife, one where they could take earthly treasures. But all the treasures intended for King Tut’s eternal enjoyment stayed right where they were until Howard Carter discovered the burial chamber in 1922. They hadn't been touched for more than 3,000 years.
I am struck by the contrast between the two graves mentioned. Borden’s was obscure, dusty, and hidden off the back alley of the street littered with garbage. King Tut’s tomb glittered with unimaginable wealth. Yet where are these two young men now? One who lived in opulence and called himself King is in the misery of a Christ-less eternity. The other, who lived the modest life on earth in service of the one true King, is enjoying his everlasting reward in the presence of his Lord. Tut’s life was tragic because of an awful truth discovered too late - he couldn't take his treasures with him. William Borden's life was triumphant. Why? Because, instead of leaving behind his treasures, he sent them on ahead.
The treasure principle states, “You can't take it with you, but you can send it on the head”. Jesus was the master of this principle, and He emphasized it in the Sermon on the Mount by saying, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19-21).