Friday, July 17, 2015

How to Store Treasure in Heaven


Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:15-21 NASB)

This series began with a look at the generosity of God ("Who Owns My Stuff"), and our own view of wealth ("Being One of the Richest People in the World"). Yesterday, we looked at where our treasure is ("Is Our Treasure Stored on Earth or in Heaven?") Although we think we "own" our wealth, it is a generous gift from God. Most of us reading this post are among the richest people in the world. Most of the world lives with so little in comparison that we might find it impossible to emulate their lifestyle. 

Today we look at how to store up treasure in heaven. It can be summed up in three words: discipleship, generosity, and perseverance.

1. Matthew 10:42 - "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.

Generosity and charity yield a reward that cannot be lost (a treasure stored in heaven).

2. Matthew 19:21 - Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 

A wealthy young man came to Jesus asking how to inherit eternal life. He had kept the law but knew he was missing something. He wanted Jesus to give him a task to do that would give what he was missing. "What good thing shall I do that may obtain eternal life?" Jesus' reply was shocking. The young man loved his money more than God. Jesus told him to loose himself from the thing that bound him (money) and give it away. More important than giving away his money, however, was that the young man needed to follow Christ. The most important way to store treasure in heaven is to transfer our love from things to Jesus and follow Him.

3. Colossians 3:23-24  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”  

When we do our work and our good deeds for the acclaim of man, that will be all the reward we receive. When we do our work to please God, He will give us a reward in heaven. Work "heartily" to please God in order to have a heavenly reward, or treasure.

4. 2 Timothy 4:8 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

This brings up two actions that result in treasure in heaven. First is faithfully following Christ (perseverance) and the second is "loving His appearing" or keeping our eyes on the Coming Again Messiah rather than on this world.

There are many more verses that could be quoted. You probably have favorites of your own. There is one thing required to store up treasure in heaven. FOLLOW JESUS FAITHFULLY. Without that, no eternal treasure is possible. We must follow Him with persistence and endurance. As an outgrowth of our love for Christ, we will be generous to the poor and extravagant with our love for Him and those He loves. 

We serve a God who sees all and rewards all, either in this life or the one to come. If we want treasure in heaven, we must do what Jesus told the rich young man. Let go of the security to which we cling and follow Him.
Our Father, I confess that I have not loved You as I should. I have loved the things of this world more than the next. Forgive me for me greed and short-sightedness, my faithlessness. Restore to me the joy of my salvation and help me to follow You, do my work for You, and give generously to those in need for You. Help me to store treasure in heaven. In Jesus name, Amen.