Protecting It (Matthew 6:19-20)

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People accumulate wealth for all manner of reasons. Having a thick bank   account and much financially invested gives one a sense of security. It allows a level of freedom from the tyranny of chronic financial urgency. It permits a certain level of freedom from slavery to the clock. You become free to do as you wish and go where you wish. But it also has a darker side. It grants opportunity to be seen as somehow more important than the rest of humanity, appealing to a sinful sense of pride. It affords that you gain at least temporary control of resources that the desperate among us truly need, which appeals to a wicked sense of power. Having much can put you in a position of needing great discernment at the very time your sense of discernment is impaired by the natural human inclination toward greed. Yet even if we do have and exercise discernment with wealth, there is still the constant corrosion of daily life expenses and the ever present need to guard against outright theft. 

When we want to keep a treasure safe from loss here in our fallen world, we put in a steel box called a “safe”. To give extra protection (and ensure the safe itself is not stolen) we put our treasure in a safe inside a vault in a bank. That’s called a “safety deposit box”. Although there have been thefts from safety deposit boxes, generally they are regarded as the safest place we can put something. Of course, such a privilege does have a cost. Safety deposit boxes are not free! The corrosion of annual cost slowly grinds down the treasure within.

Although there is no way to hoard God’s blessing without negative consequence on earth, there is a way to store up blessing in a godly way. Jesus explains, “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 treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Jesus is telling us there is a place where blessing can be stored with only positive outcomes! Where it is not corroded by expenses and taxes and subject to imminent theft. It is a place where we can store up good things without fear of loss. Luke wrote a more detailed account of Jesus teaching on this subject. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

Jesus equates giving to the poor to storing up treasure in heaven. Exactly how that works is not given to us, but it is obvious that God sees all that we do for those He made in His image, and we know that He is no man’s debtor. Moreover, 1Peter 1:4 tells us that God keeps something else aside for us in heaven, “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.” To give to the poor is to add to that inheritance. 

Safety deposit boxes are not unlimited in size, nor do they come with a treasure already inside them. Yet our heavenly safety deposit box has all those benefits and more. The student of Scripture can be confident that it is folly to store up treasure on earth, but it is most wise to store up treasure in heaven!

A man who is perfect before the Lord lays out his substance for God’s cause, depend on that. He does not merely attend conferences, and talk of good things, of spirituality of mind, and sanctification by faith, and all those glittering subjects; but he lives for Jesus in some practical work, and gives himself up, and his substance too, for the honour of the Redeemer’s name and the diffusion of the glorious gospel.

Charles Spurgeon

APPLICATION: Intentionality

What have you stored up in heaven? How are you adding to your eternal inheritance?

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