Thursday, March 3, 2011

Treasure in Heaven

How many times have we heard those words? 

"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" Matthew 6:20

I’ve heard them my whole life!  But what do they really mean?  Can you name, right off the top of your head, a specific treasure that we can “lay up” in Heaven?  Or do you have more of a nebulous, non-specific idea of what treasure in Heaven might involve?  About the only things the text tells us is that it can’t be ruined, lost or stolen.  That doesn’t leave much.

Well, I did quite a bit of reading this week trying to see what other people might think these treasures are.  Oddly enough, there aren’t many articles about it.  I found out we, as Christians, get very wrapped up in what we’re told not to do, but we don’t spend much time learning what to do.

By the way, why do you think Jesus tells us to avoid earthly treasures and gather heavenly treasures?  Well, He tells us in the very next verse:  Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Do you think Jesus is just being selfish?  He just wants us to think about Him, so we will keep on worshipping Him.  Well, that may be what Satan wants you to think.  But I think Solomon would disagree.   Solomon calls “earthly treasure” (and the getting of it) an evil upon the earth.  Mrs. White says that God gives us these instructions not for selfish reasons but that

It is for your own interest to secure heavenly riches. These alone, of all that you possess, are really yours. The treasure laid up in heaven is imperishable. No fire or flood can destroy it, no thief despoil it, no moth or rust corrupt it; for it is in the keeping of God.” {MB 89.2}

In fact, think about something that happened just this week and compare it to Ecclesiastes 6:2. 

“A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.”

Do you know what current event I’m thinking of?  The death of Anna Nicole Smith.  She spent most of her adult life fighting over her dead husband’s money.  She had like 4 million dollars when she died this week at age 39.  She’d been married three times, had two children, was admired (?) by millions of people.  She’d been in Playboy; she’d been on TV.  She’d been fat; she’d been thin.  But most of the folks I’ve heard talk about her in the last couple of days, have said what a tragic life she had.  What? How do you figure that?  It looks to me like she got everything she’d gone looking for when she left Mexia, Texas.  So, did she die happy? 

I believe that one of the reasons Jesus tells us to store up treasures in Heaven is because we become like what (or whom) we spend the most time with.  If we spend all of our time here chasing after what the world has, we’re going to become more and more like the world.  Who does “the world” look like?  Not Jesus. 

Remember “going with” someone in high school or academy?  Did you get matching t-shirts or jackets?  Didn’t you want everyone to be able to tell, just by looking, that you two were “together”?  Were school holidays or even weekends things you looked forward to or dreaded, because you would miss being with that other person?  You were at home with your family, but where were your heart and mind?  Were you happy?  Or where you just waiting for the next school day so you could be together again?  Can you imagine being happy in Heaven if everything and everyone you cared about somewhere else?  Would that be Heaven for you?  Have you ever seen those t-shirts that say things like,  “If there’s no _________ (fill in the blank) in Heaven, then I’m not going.”  I was stunned the first time I ever saw one of those sayings.  I couldn’t, and still can’t, imagine that there are people out there who would even joke about not going to Heaven.  Maybe I’m too much of a worrier to consider making jokes like that.  But the concept is true.  If you love golf, or sailing, or anything more than you love God, you’re not going to be happy in Heaven. 

So, I want to go to Heaven, how do I make sure my treasures are there?  Well, again, Jesus, Himself, tells us!  How exciting!  (I’m probably the last one to catch on, but some of this stuff, I’m just putting together for the first time.) 

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. Luke 12:32-33
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. Luke 18:18-27
OK, next question, does that mean that all we have to do is give money to the poor and we get into heaven?  No, you’re right, there’s more to it than that.  E.G. White says:
“In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him.  Hence the Saviour says, ‘Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.’  Luke 14:33.  Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up.”  Steps to Christ, p. 44
The Old Testament talks about the year of Jubilee where all property reverted to the original owners and the slaves were freed and debts were forgiven.  It was supposed to keep the Israelites from getting so attached to their possessions and money.  Giving to the poor isn’t as much for them as it is for us.  It keeps us from getting so attached to our money and possessions. When we quit thinking so much about ourselves: what we think we need and what we want, then we are more able to think about what we can do to lead others to Christ.  That’s the real treasure!  Then we’ll be anxious to get to Heaven to be with Jesus.  That excitement will be contagious and bubble over into the lives of the people we meet. 

This treasure, which Christ esteems as precious above all estimate, is 
"the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18. 
The disciples of Christ are called His jewels, His precious and peculiar treasure. He says, 
"They shall be as the stones of a crown." "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Zechariah 9:16; Isaiah 13:12. 

Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory--Christ, the great Center, from whom radiates all glory. {MB 89.3}
Think of it…Jesus is our treasure in Heaven and we are His.  I can’t wait!!!!

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