SUNDAY DECEMBER 1, 2013
LAY UP YOUR TREASURE IN HEAVEN (3)
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ Matt. 6:19-21.
IT’S one thing for there darkness to be on the outside. But if there’s light before our eyes, and our eyes are so obscured that the light in us is ‘darkness,’ then we’re talking real darkness!! How important it is, then, that our spiritual vision be undivided! How important it is that our eyes be devoted to Christ alone, and not divided between the light above and a treasure below! Keeping our treasures in heaven – and thus our hearts in heaven as well – will help us avoid this danger.
Another danger that this will help us avoid is that of ‘a divided allegiance.’ Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” In Jesus days, a slave’s service was 100 per cent. His service was not like an employer/employee relationship, because we can often have two part-time jobs. You aren’t obligated to the boss of one job when you’re working for the other. But because a slave’s devotion was to be total, he could not be the slave of two different masters. One master would tell him one thing and the other would tell him to do the opposite. Eventually, he’d have to decide where his loyalties are going to lie. And the same is true when it comes to trying to serve God and earthly riches.
How Then Can We Lay Up Our Treasures In Heaven?
The Bible tells us how. One way that we do so is by using what God gives us now for the cause of Jesus Christ. All the earthly things that the Lord entrusts to us are not ours to own. They are ours to keep as His stewards; and we are to use what He gives us for His glory and His purposes. Jesus tells us, ‘Sell what you have and give alms; provide for yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches or moth destroys’ (Luke 12:33).
Jesus doesn’t teach us to avoid being rich. It isn’t wrong to be rich in and of itself. In fact, we should praise God for those who are in the body of Christ and are rich! As someone said, you can be rich in this world and even richer in the next — if you use the riches God gives you for His glory. And that’s how we lay up our treasure in heaven. We send it on ahead, from our treasures on earth into our treasury in heaven. Paul told Timothy to teach those who are wealthy in the church to use those riches wisely: ‘Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, Who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life’ (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
This isn’t just true of the rich. It’s true of all of us. The Philippian believers were not wealthy. They gave a financial gift to Paul in order to help him in his ministry; and they apparently gave so much that they even put themselves in need! Paul wrote to thank them and said, ‘Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 4:17-20). Our Father knows about it whenever we give of our resources to the service of His work — and He will never fail to reward us. Remembering this is how we lay up our treasures in heaven.
May we, then, not set our hopes in the mammon that will fail. Let’s lay up our treasures where they will last and be enjoyed forever.