I’ve often thought how exciting it would be to win a shopping spree in a grocery store. In such a contest the prizewinner is given a few minutes to accumulate as much merchandise as possible. When the time is up, the items are sorted and the prices are totaled. But it’s all free!

I watched one of these events, and it was obvious that the participants knew exactly what they wanted. They had carefully worked out a strategy. When the clock started, they headed right for the high-priced items.

Now suppose a contestant had filled his cart with empty boxes and cartons. We would say, “He’s foolish. Why doesn’t he take the valuable items?”

That’s the picture I see in the prophet Jeremiah’s description of the people of Israel in their relationship to God. They spent their days piling up things that were useless and empty. They exchanged “their Glory for what does not profit” (2:11). They turned from God, the source of all good things, and instead trusted objects that were worthless.

What about us? As Christians, do we realize that life is a great prize, giving us unlimited opportunity to store up valuable treasures in heaven? Let’s not waste our time running around being winners of nothing.