Friday, July 17, 2015

Is our treasure stored on earth or 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." And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. (Luke 12:15-22 NASB)

We began this series by a look at the generosity of God ("Who Owns My Stuff"), then our own view of wealth ("Being One of the Richest People in the World"). We've already seen that, although we think we own our wealth, it all belongs to God. He is incredibly generous with us. Compared to the rest of the world, most of us reading this post are among the richest people in the world. Our understanding of what it takes to survive is so skewed that we have no idea how many of the world's people live. 

Today, we look at the rich man's view of the future and God's response.

The rich man surveyed all that he owned, made plans to store all his grain and his goods, then came to some interesting conclusions.
1. I will always have wealth.
2. I don't need to work anymore.
3. I will live a long time.
4. It's my turn for fun. (Eat, drink, and be merry!)

He didn't say, "I have more than enough. It's time to help others." He didn't say, "I'll see how I can make a difference in the world around me." No. He was only concerned about himself, his own pleasure, and how he would use the wealth he had accumulated for himself. 

God had an entirely different view of his situation. God saw the man, his accumulated wealth, and his barns. He also saw the man's heart. God's conclusions were interesting, too.
1. Life is short. 
2. You can't take it with you.
3. A life lived for material things is a poor and foolish life.

God told the man, "You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?"

Jesus told His disciples that the man who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God is just like this foolish man. Our tendency, especially in a society of wealth and entitlement, is to think that we "deserve" what we have and should be able to spend our money however we want. Jesus makes it clear that the truth is quite different.

The "things" we accumulate do not have eternal significance. We will leave every single thing we have behind when we die, even those things we have treasured. It is, therefore, critical that we make preparations for eternity with the same diligence we prepare for our later years. 

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 19-21 NASB

If we want wealth that lasts, we must store it in heaven by the lives we live now. Eternal treasure begins by following Christ rather than the world. It begins by obedience to His commands and doing our work in ways that honor Him rather than ourselves.

Making a change in our lives (and in our investment strategies) requires that we begin by an assessment of our current situation. For today, look at the wealth you have accumulated on earth. How does it compare to the wealth you have accumulated in heaven? What have you stored where there is no moth or rust to destroy? Where no thieves break in and steal? Are we following Him in such a way that we are investing in the Kingdom of God?
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Almighty God, help me to see my wealth, my finances the way You see it. Help me store up treasure in heaven rather than simply here on earth. Show me Your ways and help me walk in them. In Jesus' name, Amen.

**** Tomorrow we will look at ways to store treasure in heaven, so be sure to check back.