19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Mat. 6:19-21
Is it not truly amazing that with so few words one would become the greatest investment advisor both in heaven and on the earth. But that was exactly what our Lord Jesus accomplished here. In just one sentence, the Lord provided the single most important piece of advice for anyone who wants to arrive at true riches. You will never, ever find any sounder investment advice than the words that Jesus spoke here.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Master of everything, even in bringing out in the briefest and clearest summary the most important and complex aspects of our lives!
The word that I love most in this scripture is “yourself”. That is a word we should meditate over and over. In other words, just as we love to gain in this world, we could equally gain in heaven! But is that truly possible? Yes; but to do that, I need to hate myself first.
Now, people who hate others are normally bitter at heart. But did you know you can hate with joy? But the only hating that you can do with joy is when you hate yourself for the sake of God’s Kingdom. That is a spiritual experience that can only come about when we have been born again by God’s Spirit.
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
I can attest to the fact that the truly joyous moments that I have experienced in my life are when I found myself giving, not receiving. There is a certain joy attached to receiving, a gross and spiritually oppressive kind of satisfaction. But there is another kind of joy, a joy that is spiritually liberating, which we can only find when we give away our lives for the sake of the gospel.
Notice the scripture talks of not laying up “for yourselves treasures upon earth”.
What does that mean? Jesus could have been saying many things here, but here we will consider specifically money and material wealth. The Bible tells us not to lay up for ourselves these things upon the earth.
Now, if you love the world, you will bring up every argument to counter Jesus’ words. But if God has touched you and in your heart you love Him, you will rejoice at Jesus’ words.
I have heard people say, “Y’know, you don’t have to be stupid to be saved”. They say, “Don’t live as if you are not in this world!” They tell you things like how you ought to save money so you can build a house. They tell you that you shouldn’t live in a rented house all your life.
Well, if there was one person they should be telling this, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus began His earthly life on the wrong foot right from birth. His mother even had no place to give birth to Jesus, and He had to be born in a manger. A manger! Try to imagine that.
You would think God would correct this anomaly and give the most powerful Man his due place on earth. But we read that even when Jesus was at the height of His ministry, He did not have a place to even lay His head! Our Lord lived a truly poor life.
And how about the worldly-eccentric man, John the Baptist? John might have appeared eccentric by his odd lifestyle, but I can assure you that apart from Jesus Christ, in his lifetime John was spiritually the sanest person alive. This man lived in the desert his entire life, and he fed on locusts and wild honey – but God was with him!
Let me tell you, you can live in a hole, literally, all your life, and enter heaven triumphantly. Do you want God to be with you? Just have a heavenly vision. Seeing into God’s Kingdom will make you the richest man spiritually because God will be with you.
Neither Jesus nor John the Baptist lived a materially expensive life to prove that God was with them. Nor did the apostles of Jesus Christ. But they saw with a deep clarity into God’s spiritual Kingdom.
There are also dangers associated with setting our hearts on the things of this world. Robbers could come in and take our property. I raise chickens at my home and someone came and suggested that I should buy a dog to protect my chickens. I told him no. I told him God is well able to protect my chickens. If He ever allows them to get stolen, He will do so for a reason. Another reason I will not be buying a dog, I told my friend, is because I do not want my heart to be set on those chickens.
The reason Jesus, John and the early church did not lay up treasures here on earth was because they saw into God’s Kingdom, and what they saw there made them to despise the glitter of this world. The things we crow about, these people despised. Jesus even had one seamless shirt-cum-coat. You would need to know how people in his day dressed in order to appreciate how poor our Lord truly was! There are people who do not like the idea that Jesus be portrayed as a poor man. But Jesus was a poor man. You do not even need to guess it. The Bible itself states that Jesus was poor (2 Cor. 8:9).
Let me end by giving you some good investment advice. In fact, this is the best advice you will ever get, and especially if you have large sums of money. And I am giving it to you free of charge.
My advice is: If you have money, do not put it in the bank. Put it in the church. Put it into God’s work. This is where it will truly pay. If you can invest your money into the bank to put into God’s Kingdom, well and good. Only, do not invest it for yourself. The only place “yourself” is waiting to gain is in God’s spiritual Kingdom, not here on earth.
Give away your money and property to the poor. There are many poor people, and some are even our brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not lend, but give. The Bible says,
“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days” (Eccl. 11:1).
That speaks of a generous heart. One day, in heaven, you will reap a wonderful harvest.
Giving away our lives in this manner is one of the really big ways that we plan for heaven. Planning for heaven is the best investment plan. Plan for heaven, not earth. Invest in God’s spiritual Kingdom, not this earthly one.
Indeed the Apostle Paul urges us to handle this worldly life with the tips of your fingers. In 1 Timothy 6:8 he says:
“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:8).
That’s truly incredible, coming from this great man of God. Do you think Paul did not know of other things? Do you think he did not know of chariots and horses? Do you think Paul was not aware of money, and of gold and silver? He knew, of course, but he wouldn’t mention them. He wanted to show us that when it comes to this world, we should only desire the bare necessities. Desiring anything beyond that can only be of the flesh!
This is hard for many believers to accept, but it is the truth. A rather hard truth, but the truth nonetheless. As believers we should be aware that the flesh is very much alive and that it will always picket against us taking the narrow way. But we have to, for the gospel’s sake.