Stored up Treasures

Read: Matthew 2:1-12 and Matthew 6:19-21

Since today is Wednesday (Hump Day) and camels are a part of almost every Christmas manger scene I did a little reading this week on why Camels have humps. My resource for these wonderful facts is “The book of totally useless information” by Don Voorhees. This is what it says,

“No, it’s not to store only water as commonly believed, although the camel can extract water from the hump. The camel has no layer of fat under its skin like most mammals. The hump is a large deposit of fat, weighing up to eighty pounds, that the camel can use for food and water in times of need. By breaking down the fat into hydrogen and oxygen, water is formed.

A camel can go for several days, even weeks, without water or food. When it does, its hump shrinks in size as its energy and water are used and tends to hang down on the animals side. When a camel finally gets water, it can drink up to thirty gallons at one time.

Camels can eat almost anything they find growing in the desert, even cacti. Their mouths have extremely thick skin, which cactus needles cannot penetrate. Speaking of humps, the dromedary, or Arabian camel, has only one hump; the Bactrian camel has two.”

I did not realize that some camels have one hump and others have two. Perhaps if camels pulled Amish horse and buggies around our community I probably would have known that, but since they are not commonly found in our area I actually learned something from this book of totally useless information.

Even though the Bible (Matthew 2) does not say that the Magi rode to see the Christ child on camels we can speculate that they probably did. The other option was to walk, and that would have been a long walk. From the description above it sounds like they were the perfect animals for long trips across barren lands.

But one thing we can notice from the camel is that they store up things that they need to survive. They don’t store useless things that will do them no good. In Matthew 6 Jesus instructs us to store up things in heaven and not to be concerned with storing up things here on earth. That’s probably a good reminder during this Christmas season.

By growing spiritually and walking daily with the Lord we can prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus during this Advent season. Instead of being overwhelmed by the “things” of this world, God wants to help us secure treasures that will be lasting for all of eternity. Jesus says that these treasures will not be destroyed by moths or rust, they are treasures that thieves cannot break in and steal.

And I might add that most of those treasures are not found under a Christmas tree. We enjoy giving gifts to each other this time of year and rightly so. The Magi brought gifts to Jesus. But let’s take Jesus’ advice and keep the things of heaven and the things of this world in their proper perspectives.

Make it personal: If you are feeling like your energy is sapped during this busy season, take time to appreciate the story of the camel and how we too need to concern ourselves more with the things of God than the things of this world. The world will pass away, treasures secured in heaven will not.

Have a great Advent season,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church