Treasures In Heaven, Hell or Earth
Where are yours? Luke 12:13-24
(All scripture passages unless otherwise stated are from the NKJ version)
In ancient Egypt it is told that the Kings would be buried with their treasures in the pyramids, with the belief that when the king got to the other side of life on earth, he would have his treasure there with him.
Even today we read of some whom desire to be buried with their money as if that would be any good to them on the other side of eternity.
Many who are rich today are never satisfied with the wealth they already have. They greedily desire to accumulate even more money.
The 80's have been described as the most materialistic age in North America ever. Kids are taught that the more you have, the more you are a somebody. In other words the more possessions you have and the more money you have, the more you are deemed to be a success.
There is nothing wrong with being wealthy, or have having lots of possessions. After all it is God who establishes whom will be wealthy, and whom will own what and how much. Deut. 8:18; 1 Sam. 2:7; Prov. 10:22; Eccl. 5:19; And it is God Himself whom actually owns all the riches in the world. The world is His after all. He created the world and all that is it. Hagai 2:8. Therefore it is His to share and give to whomever He wants.
The issue here is not whether one is wealthy or not, but what one does with their wealth, or lack of wealth. Greed is a symptom of ones lack of love for God and his fellow man. One does not have to be wealthy to be greedy. Just look at young children who own nothing and see how they want what others have as they go across the room to take possessions from their peers.
In Luke 12:13-21 Jesus tells a parable which causes us to look at what and where our treasures are. Before Jesus begins the telling of this parable of the rich fool, He is confronted by a man who wants Jesus to intervene in a family dispute. He wants Jesus to tell his brother to split up the family inheritance. This is somewhat reminiscent of the prodigal son who demanded his share of his inheritance even before father had died. To settle family disputes was not Christ's mandate, so He ignored the man and told this parable of Luke 12: According to Jewish Law, the elder brother would have been in control of the inheritance. The elder brother would receive the larger portion of the inheritance. Like the prodigal son, this boy likely wanted his inheritance now to blow it living a wild riotous living.
Jesus says: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (Luke 12:15)
Greed as we know is very prevalent in today's society. We have dictators who steal away a countries wealth. Wall street investors steal hordes of money from trusted investors. Bank workers pilfer little by little from bank depositors, insurance frauds etc. are also prevalent. So many are in a take, take, take mode, taking by fraudulent gain.
Jesus gave us a stern warning, He said: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Well excuse me! According to the teachings in our schools and universities today a man's life does indeed consist of the things he posses. A man is measured by how much money is in his bank account, how big his credit rating is, how big his house is, how big the swimming pool is in his big house, how big his boat is etc. A man's possession today is an indicator of how successful he is.
Did Jesus go to a different school? No He is God and His is the author of morality, of what is what and wrong. So therefore if He says: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.", it is so.
So then what does a mans life consist of? "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica). This is what a man's life consists of. However, God if He wills it will grant a man others possessions and wealth as He deems fit.
Do you think I jest? Scripture tells us first of all that; "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Gen 2:7) God is the creator of all life on earth. He breathed into the nostrils of the man and man became a living being. God is in control of our being. "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring' Acts 17:28
Job asks the rhetorical question: "In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10) God does of course. The writer of the Psalms also asks; "Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved" Ps. 66:9
Which one of us can say for certain that I will go to this place or to that place, or to do this or do that? Do you not know that God controls where you go, and what you will do?
Do Not Boast About Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."
Is this not enough to convince you that your life is not your own and that you are not in control of it? You are not even in control of when you will draw your last breath. But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; " Luke 12:20
When God says now is your last breath, guess what, you got no choice about it. There is nothing you can do about it. When He says stop, you stop.
The story of the rich fool mirrors well many rich people today. In this parable the man sees his wealth in the abundance of his crops. In those days a man's wealth was not measured so much in monetary wealth but in the amount of his crops and animal and land possessions. Read the story of Job and see how he was wealthy this way, lost it all, and then regained it all back x 2 plus because God willed it.
So this dude sees that he has a huge crop, so he decides to build bigger and better barns to store it all in for future use. Again, there is nothing wrong with being wealthy, but what is wrong is when we do not use what we have to benefit others, not just ourselves. Those who store all the money in banks, rather than spreading it out to help feed the poor and needy are the same as this rich man with his abundance of crops. Rather than spreading out the wealth which God bestowed upon him, he was planning to hoard it all for himself rather than helping to feed the poor.
I am reminded of the passage in James where James talks about faith and good works. James says here in essence, where is your faith if you are able to feed and clothes others, but do not.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe¡ªand tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of James God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:14-26
What eternal value is there if you hoard your wealth by storing it away for yourselves your possessions, or if you build useless things This does not aid those in need.
I am always appalled likewise when our governments waste big money on projects the profits no one at all. For example during this past summers Commonwealth gathering of the commonwealth countries in Ontario, the Canadian government spent literally millions of dollars to build a man made lake just to impress the gathering dignitaries. They also spent tons of money having the meeting at different venues rather than at one. Why, they could have saved all that money by simply having a conference call instead of spending tons of money accomplishing nothing at all of any value. The man made lake was a total waste of money when the country side around Ontario is dotted with many gorgeous lakes. Why build on top of God's creation?
Getting back to the rich fool, he exposes his self centered greed, much like Satan did in Isaiah 14:13-14 where Satan said 5 times "I will" He said:
'"I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High."
Satan is so self centered, that all he can think about, is how good he is. His strongest desire has always been to usurp God Himself and set himself up to be god, to rule all the world. During the Tribulation period he will for a time appear to have that power and worship he has craved all the millennia, but even then he will still be on a chain. God will only let him do so much, and no more.
Well the rich fool likewise says six times: "I will." He like Satan is so stuck on himself, that he cannot see that there are others out there. His whole attitude is like the Yuppies today which is; I deserve, I owe it to myself, and like the Frank Sinatra song long time ago: "I did it my way."
This guy is stuck on materialism like the "Me" generation of today. His main goal is to get more, get more, get more for himself. His attitude says: I'll store up for myself today for the future." There is a name for this attitude. It is called hedonism. It is a looking after myself, take it easy, eat drink and be merry, storing up treasures to last through his long perceived life attitude.
But, as we know, God is in control. He says you will, if He allows it. He says you will get if I allow it. He says your days will last as long as I say it does, and no longer. You cannot bargain with God on any of this.
And so one night God calls in His loan. He says; "This night I am taking your soul." Game over.
For all his hoarding and greed, it didn't matter at all. For when you die, all your material possessions and wealth don't add up to nothing when you die, because you cannot take any of it with you. What you take to the grave is: n-o-t-h-i-n-g!
In the eyes of the world, he was a great success. But in the eyes of the Lord, he was a fool. A man to be pitied. A fool is one who chooses to live his life without God, as if He does not exist.
This guy thought that he had control over his possessions and his treasures into the future. But God says; " then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? KJV" No man has any control over his possession once he has entered the grave.
One who stores up treasures for himself on earth is not rich towards God. One who stores up treasures for himself on earth loses it all in the end and also loses all opportunity of the riches of God in eternity. Luke 12:21:b to paraphrase.
Jesus gives us the alternative to storing up your treasure here on earth in Luke 12: 22-34
What is the alternative? Jesus tells us to ; "seek ye first the kingdom of God." Matt. 6:33 KJV For when you; "Ask and it shall be given unto you. " Matt 7:7 KJV "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." Luke 12:31 KJV
In this section of scripture Jesus describes how God looks after the natural world. He cares for and provides for the birds of the air, the flowers and the trees, the fields, and of course of the animals.
So therefore if God cares for and provides for all these, would He likewise also not take care of and provide for you? Does He not love you more than the natural world? Of course He does. So why then waste your time, energy and resources storing up for yourselves things and treasures here on earth; "where moth and rust destroy." Matt. 6:19,20 KJV Things of the earth will eventaully all be gone, but the kingdom of God is eternal.
Again, there is nothing wrong with having possession, but what is it you are doing with your treasures? Are you using them for the glory of God? "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:34 KJV)
Where is your heart? Is your heart fixed on the treasures of earth, or on the things of God? What are you doing with your treasures? Are you them using for yourself, or for Him?
If God says He will provide for you, why are so many anxious, worried about tomorrow? Does He not care and provide for you?
If you are lacking, is it possible that you are trust and waiting on Him? Prov. 12:25 says: "An anxious heart weighs a man down." (NIV 1984) In other words it is like ulcers. People get worried, get themselves so wound up that they develop ulcers.
To be a worrier is an illustration of where your trust is. If you place your trust in Him, you should not be a worrier. But if you place your trust in your possessions, then your focus and trust are not on God and thus you become a worrier, and also you are not a child of God and are destined for the pit of hell, and not with Him into a glorious eternity.To worry is futile, it avails nothing. I have been known to say;" If you worry you are going to die. If you don't worry, you are still going to die. So why worry." Think about it.
What is there to worry about after all? Most worries are either of things of the past, which you can't change anyway and cannot be controlled. Or they may be about things in the here and now that also cannot be controlled, or they may about things in the future, which may or may not happen. Would it not be better to put your trust in God who is in control of the past, present and future? Your lack of trust in God shows your lack of faith in Him.
The best place to store your treasures is in heaven. Some godly treasures you have now include such things as your love for others, especially the down trodden, the meek, the poor, the crippled. Jesus said when you take care of the least of these, you have done it unto Him. And these are the ones whom shall see Him as He is if they have placed their hope and trust in Jesus to take their sins upon Himself. Matt. 31-46 NKJ
So search your heart and see where your treasures lie. Are they in the here and now on earth, then is time to change your priorities and seek ye first the kingdom of God. For where your treasures are, there also will your heart be. Seek God!
Always be Ready! (A Reply to an Email)
You mention that the Lord taught you that He is coming again and that you must be ready. Absolutely. That should be a strong motivation to be always ready. Always be looking up and reading for His coming. Scripture tells us that no one knows the hour when He will return. It could be right now. It could be five minutes from now. It could be next weekend, next week, next summer. We do not know. But we need to be ready. How can you be ready if you are involved in any kind of sin? Scripture also tells us that when we are in sin, He is not with us. That is He will not stay beside us. When Jesus took on the sins of the world on the cross, the sky turned black. He said: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." Mark 15:34 (King James Version)
At that moment in time when Jesus carried the sins of the world upon His shoulders, God had indeed departed from Him, because God cannot be in the presence of sin. How much more will He be present with us if we are involved in sin. Think upon that the next time you are tempted to fall into sin.
Scripture tells us that where ever your treasure is, there also is your heart. Therefore, if your heart is into material things, it will show in the many toys you collect for yourself, and the little time and effort you spend with God.
Also, where lies your faith and trust? Does your trust lie with God, or in man?