Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6: 19-21
Jesus never lost sight of His goals. He understood that His assignment on this earth was a temporary one. Because of that, He maintained a pilgrim mindset—always looking to the treasures of heaven and His Father’s ironclad promises.
If you believe the words He spoke?
You begin to see clearly the simplicity of His message.
This world is NOT our home
Most of us live as if it is.
(Especially those of us in the affluent nations.)
We are people who are always accumulating more and more stuff.
While the consumer class thrives, great disparities remain. The 12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North America and Western Europe accounts for 60 percent of private consumption spending, while the one-third living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent… Despite rising consumption in the developing world, industrial countries remain responsible for the bulk of the world’s resource consumption—as well as the associated global environmental degradation. Yet there is little evidence that the consumption locomotive is braking, even in the United States, where most people are amply supplied with the goods and services needed to lead a dignified life. — The State of Consumption, worldwatch.org
If we know we can’t take it with us—assuredly won’t be taking any of it with us—why do we carry on as if “our stuff of this life” is the main event?
Scripture sternly warns us:
Isn’t it true that our hands were empty when we came into the world, and when we leave this world our hands will be empty again? Because of this, food and clothing is enough to make us content. But those who crave the wealth of this world slip into spiritual snares. They become trapped by the troubles that come through their foolish and harmful desires, driven by greed and drowning in their own sinful pleasures. And they take others down with them into their corruption and eventual destruction. Loving money is the first step toward all kinds of trouble. Some people run after it so much that they have given up their faith. Craving more money pushes them away from the faith into error, compounding misery in their lives! 1 Timothy 6: 7-10 TPT
Americans are in more pain than any other population around the world. At least, that’s the conclusion that can be drawn from one startling number from recent years: Approximately 80 percent of the global opioid supply is consumed in the United States. Irina Koffler, senior analyst, specialty pharma, Mizuho Securities USA, told CNBC.
The Message Bible puts 1 Timothy 6: 17-19 like this,
Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.
Why do we doubt the words of Jesus and the clarity of the scriptures?
Where are your treasures?
So let me ask you, “How big is your pile of “stuff” here on earth?” Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
Are you doing that?
Are you believing, and therefore, making your account in heaven your main focus?
Our decisions and choices reflect where our focus is—and what we truly believe.
Stanley Tam lives like a pilgrim
There is this wonderful story in Mark Batterson’s book, Draw The Circle.
I have a ninety-five-year-old friend named Stanley Tam…
Stanley started the United States Plastic Corporation with $37 in capital. When he gave his business over to God, annual revenues were less that $200,000, but Stanley believed God would bless his business, and he wanted to honor God from the get-go.
(Stanley had made God a full partner giving Him 51 percent of his business.)
At that point, most of us would have been patting ourselves on the back, but not Stanley. He felt convicted for keeping 49 percent for himself. After reading the parable about the merchant who found the pearl of great price and sold everything he had to obtain it, Stanley made a decision to divest himself of all his shares.
On January 15, 1955, every share of stock was transferred to his Senior Partner, and Stanley became a salaried employee of the company he had started. Since the day Stanley made that defining decision, he has given away more than $120 million…
Few things are as inspiring as seeing childlike faith in a very old person. That’s Stanley Tam. He is the youngest oldest person I know. He simply takes God at His word. And when we take God at His word, God stands by His word.
One of the mistakes we make in reading history, whether biblical history or history in general, is thinking that those who lived before us were different from us. They weren’t. If God did it for them, He can do it for us. And if we do what they did in the Bible, I’m convinced that God will do what He did. Nothing has changed. God wants to renew His deeds in our day. But we need to pray the price. Leonard Ravenhill put it this way:
One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed. We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained, whereas first and foremost it is a Book to be believed (and after that to be obeyed).
Batterson concluded by saying,
What we keep we ultimately lose; what we give away we ultimately get back.