In Matthew 6: 19 -21 Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
If we understand that Jesus is truly Divine (as well as truly human) we recognize that He speaks with absolute authority and absolute knowledge. That is quite the combination. We, on the other hand, as finite human beings, having no such authority and no such knowledge. We are therefore extremely foolish to disregard what He says.
In this passage, Jesus tells us not to lay up earthly treasures but instead to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven. He then explains why. Earthly treasure is not a stable investment. It is subject to rotting, rusting and theft. In contrast, heavenly treasure is not in any way subject to rotting, rusting and theft. Heavenly treasure is secure, eternally secure. It can never rot; can never rust, and can never be stolen from us.
Then, He reveals an enlightening principle: our heart will always follow our treasure investment. Think about that! Our treasure has something of an unseen chord that leads directly to our hearts. Wherever it is we lay up our treasure, we will find that our hearts gravitate towards it. If our treasure is in this world, our heart will gravitate towards this world. If our treasure is in stocks, bonds, silver or gold, investments and real estate, that is where our hearts will be. Yet, if our treasure is placed in heavenly investments, our heart will gravitate towards the heavenly.
The earthly investments are all in the seen realm, the real of the five senses. Heavenly investments are in the unseen realm. Giving to the kingdom of God involves investments in Christ’s enterprises. In involves supporting the local Church, the extension of the gospel, giving to the poor, touching the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. That is why the Christian life is a walk of faith. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Cor. 9:7
Jesus tells us what is very real and very true, and yet unseen by earthly eyes. Do we trust Him? Do we believe Him? If we do, then we will rejoice in our giving. God loves “cheerful” not “tearful” or “fearful” givers.
Giving with a cheerful heart can only occur when we believe our investments in eternal things is the best possible investment. There is no “buyer’s regret” in kingdom investments. They are shrewd and wise investments. That is because no one investing in kingdom stock wishes they had invested less than they did. Believe me, no one in heaven regrets giving even a dime of their wealth to the kingdom of God. The only regret might be that we did not give more.
Each giving opportunity is an opportunity to invest in eternal things. Jesus says “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” When we believe Jesus’ words, giving actually makes perfect sense, and in fact, we are happy with even the thought of giving, hence we become “cheerful givers.”
I once encountered a man who was troubled because in a short space of time, he had received several promotions in his job, and this meant his tithe check to his church (a tithe is 10% of income) had tripled in less than a year. He was now giving far more than he had before. And he was troubled by this… He asked me to pray for him.
I said, “I think I know just the prayer to pray for you.” We both bowed our heads in a moment of prayer and I began to pray:
“Lord, you know that since you gave him these promotions, my brother’s giving is large now. Please, Lord, allow him to go back to his salary of a few months ago… We know you have the power to do this, so Lord, please demote him… please let him earn less income, so he can be comfortable in his giving once again…”
Now before I had finished saying “Amen” the man stopped me abruptly and said, “no, no, no, I see the point you are making pastor… don’t pray that prayer for me…”
I said “what is my point?”
“That I should be grateful for the promotions I have received and excited that I can now give this amount, when I could not do so before.”
I said, “you are right! You have much to be thankful for. God is allowing you to earn more so you can be in a position to give more. Think of Abraham. In Genesis 12:2 God said, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” He was blessed to be a blessing! That is God’s purpose for us also when He blesses us.
Just a few verses on from these words above we read of Jesus saying:
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matt. 6:24)
There is no neutral ground when it comes to the use of our money. We either love God or hate Him. We are either devoted to God or devoted to money.
That’s quite a thought. Let’s remember this though: Money can never be our god when we are giving it away. If Jesus is our Lord, we will trust Him in what He says about life, salvation and the use of our money, and when we do, our giving will not be in any way reluctant, but a joyous expression of faith, obedience, and the thrill of laying up treasure of an eternal kind, which can never be taken away. Praise the Lord!