Treasure

What I am talking about here is not at all what you are expecting. I am referring to “treasure” as a verb, as in:

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11
“But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

Hearing a message and thinking, “This is good,” is not enough, even if you make a note somewhere but never get around to looking at it again.

Underlining or highlighting a verse in your Bible, printed or electronic, is not enough, even if you happen to run across the marks at some point in the future.

To treasure something in your heart means to handle it there, turn it over and around, scrutinize it, think about its parts, and come back to it again and again. This is memorization.

Having been a teacher of science and mathematics among secondary students and of the Bible among adults for over fifty years leaves me with the settled conviction that memorization is almost a lost art. I understand the reasons for it. Electronic entertainment has taken the place of the time prior generations used in recalling a memorized poem or passage of Scripture, to ponder it, recite it, enjoy it anew. The ubiquitous electronic devices we carry also allow us to look up almost anything in the Bible or elsewhere with just a minute of research (and a good WiFi or cellular signal). But, this is not enough.

When you are praying, do you say, “Just a minute, Father, while I look something up?”

When you are telling someone about the salvation that is in Jesus Christ, do you say, “Just a minute. I know there is a good verse about this; let me look it up?”

When someone (perhaps Luke) asked Mary about raising Jesus, did she say, “I don’t remember, but let me flip through my photos on my phone?”

When Satan tempted Jesus (and when we are tempted), is “Let me look up a verse about that,” adequate?

To memorize a verse, here is what you do:

1. Write it out by hand.
2. Read it aloud.
3. Say the first word or words from memory, then check if you had them right.
4. Add the next word or phrase, saying everything from the beginning and checking it.
5. Repeat step 4 until you have the whole verse.
6. See if you can still say it a few hours later.
7. Say it before going to sleep that night.
8. Repeat it in the morning.
9. Treasure it in your heart.

There are eight necessary steps there; the ninth is the payoff.