“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Matthew 6:19 (NIV)
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20 (NIV)
When we speak of wealth most of us think of mansions, expensive cars, jewelry and other material possessions. Our Lord, who never owned any property He did not wear, thought of wealth as things that were in heaven and not what could be accumulated here on earth.
All of us find it necessary to work in order to eat. But how much of this world’s goods ought we to acquire for ourselves in the process of providing for food and shelter? How hard ought we to work in order to have a little laid aside for a possible financial crisis in the future? How much of this world’s goods is enough as far as God is concerned?
Read the following verses and see if they have some answers for my questions on accumulating wealth.
Mark 10:21-22 (NIV)
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said.
‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
We all should recognize that Jesus used a literary device we call hyperbole when He sought to emphasize a point. For example He told thieves in Matthew 5:30 (NIV) the following, “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
When Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler He recognized that the young man trusted his wealth more than God. Therefore Jesus told him to rid himself of the false god of gold and put his trust in Jesus instead. Jesus’ way of pointing out to the young man his spiritual problem was to challenge him to get rid of his wealth and follow Him. If it came to a case of Jesus or his wealth, the young man chose his wealth instead and went away from Jesus and back to what his wealth could buy.
The sure way to the wealth that Jesus wants us to have is to always be giving to the poor, supporting the preaching of the Gospel and giving to those in need that come our way in life. A wonderful man of my acquaintance has an amazing ability to make money. He gives away the larger portion of what he earns to help the poor and lives a very modest lifestyle. No one looking at him would guess that he is a millionaire.
When have we given enough to help others? When we give just a little more than we do. How much is enough when giving to the Lord? Enough to interfere with our standard of living. I challenge you to a lifestyle of living well below what you can afford in order to support the Lord’s work generously and to help the poor and needy. Try to live a little closer to the poverty level that Jesus had when He lived here on earth. It does not matter how low your standard of living gets, you will be living a better lifestyle than Jesus did. No matter how much you give away you will never out give the Lord. Seek to be rich in the way that impresses the Lord and not your friends.