by Steven Chan
28 June 2009
In this world of constant change, one is often bewildered by various events that befall us in our lives. For many years until recently, the world had experienced a great abundance of wealth but almost all of a sudden, the world economies have seemed to crash – with seemingly “too big to fail companies” disappearing at a dramatic pace. Investors holding their investments in stocks, bonds, currencies and such like have experienced significant losses over a very short period of time.
During such time, it is good for us to be reminded of the temporal nature of all things that we often valuable in our lives. Early in the ministry of Jesus, He taught: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21)
The instruction is clear: “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth” Instead, we are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven! Some of us may not lay up treasures on earth but do we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven? It is interesting to note that the Lord says that the treasures we lay up in heaven are actually for ourselves! God does not need our treasures in heaven.
How do we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven? The Bible tells us how: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (I Tim 6:17-19) The ESV translates verse 18 as follows: “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share”.
There are four things that we must do. Firstly, we must do good. “Doing good” is very wide in scope and contemplates that which is benevolent, seeking the good of others, beneficial, honourable, responsible social behaviour and that which is God-glorifying. It exceeds the idea of not doing evil. Secondly, we must be rich in good works. Good works can be considered a sub-set of doing good. Thirdly, we must be generous. In other words, do not be selfish or stingy or sparing in our treatment of others. Do not do just the minimum in what we do for our brethren. The Bible declares: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (2 Cor 9:6). Finally, we must be ready to share. In other words, we should not wait until we are asked or “coerced” or “forced” into sharing. We should be ever-ready to share whenever a need arises. A good example would be that of the good Samaritan who did good, was generous and ready to share (Luke 10:30-37).
Brethren, the words of the hymn entitled, Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand, are indeed appropriate:
“Time is filled with swift transition; build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand. Trust in Him who will not leave you, whatsoever years may bring; If by earthly friends forsaken, still more closely to Him cling…When your journey is completed, if to God you have been true, fair and bright the home in glory, your enraptured soul will view.”
God does not change. We have His promises and we can trust that His promises hold true. Hence, when we lay up our treasures in heaven, we know that we have placed them in the right and secure place. Are we laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven?