Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:19-21
Most of us know how to store up treasure on earth, don’t we? We know the concept anyway, whether or not we are actually doing it. Savings accounts, 401k, stocks and bonds, securities. The idea is that we invest some of our earnings now so we can retire or relax at some point in the future. But Jesus says that kind of savings has a level of risk that weakens the investment value. That is, it can decay, decline or just be lost through theft or some other means. In other words, storing up treasure on earth is uncertain, risky, unwise.
On the other hand, to be truly weatherproof in life, our investments should be focused on storing treasure in heaven, not on earth. Because each person has an account in heaven. You don’t get a plastic card or a pin number, and there is no monetary standard like gold or silver. But there is an account none-the-less. The apostle Paul wrote:
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. Philippians 4:14-17 NIV
Paul enjoyed seeing Christian people do things that he knew would be credited toward their heavenly account. And the same is true today. Whenever we see someone giving of themselves, either doing something sacrificially to help someone or giving above and beyond what they have been asked to give, we know that a generous deposit is being made in their heavenly account.
This is such an important command because Jesus is redirecting our understanding of earthly resources – in the last command he taught us HOW to give, and that is to give in private and as unto the Lord and not to be seen of men, and in this command, He is giving us the WHY of giving.
The way that God meets needs in the world, generally, is through the generosity of His people. He first gives us the ability to make a living and gives us resources to live and give through our work. It all comes from God. When we understand our income and resources this way—that they are God’s resources for meeting needs, we begin to see the importance of conscious generosity. And it doesn’t even matter how much you have, generosity is about the heart of the giver, not the amount of the gift.
The amazing thing that happens as a result of generous, behind-the-scenes giving, is that an account is established and funded in heaven – an eternal investment is created that will never crash, never depreciate, and never pass away!
Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 NLT
Do you see the difference between the Christian way of life and the American way? The American way of writing this verse would be something like this:
“Store up an interest bearing, diversified portfolio to have a good fiscal foundation so that you can retire and enjoy the rest of this life!” And the prophets today have names like Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab, and prophet is spelled, “profit”.
But Paul says to be, “be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
The true life he is telling us to take hold of is our destiny in this world and the world to come. This is the life we are destined to live! Building heavenly treasure through generosity.
Please note, before you give away everything (unless that’s what God tells you to do personally), in Luke 14, Jesus commends careful planning and taking stock of future needs. You shouldn’t feel guilty for having life insurance or a retirement account or a nice house, it’s not about that.
Earthly resources aren’t a measure of a person’s relationship with God – the issue is not what you have, but what has you. Life isn’t about what you possess, but what possesses you.
Here is the weatherproof principle: hold things loosely and give generously, in so doing you will be rich in heavenly treasure.