Sunday, March 27, 2011

Checked Your Balance Lately?

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

Have you ever suffered from the embarrassment of bouncing a check? I think for one reason or another most of us have and I'm sure just like me, you did not enjoy the feeling that came with the knowledge that you had made a serious mistake. I'm sure as well, we all share a typical response to that event by learning to check our balance often to be sure we have more than enough money in our account.

Most of us are probably familiar with this passage, but like I always say, if you look a little closer at the familiar ones you usually can find something new you may not have seen before. This passage is no exception so I think I will share some thoughts that I have learned from it that have truly changed my thinking about the most important account we possess. I think I will do that by focusing on three aspects of this passage concerning our accounts, and we will call them the where, what, and why of heavenly deposits.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal”

Ever hear the saying; location,location,location? At first glance I had the feeling we were being told it was wrong to try to save up or seek to gain wealth, but that is not what we are told here. Rather we are told that “where” we seek to invest is the important thing. Now I'm sure we all spend a great deal of time watching our time cards and figuring out how much we will have in the bank by the end of the pay period, but how closely are we watching and working to fill our account in heaven? Did you even realize you had an account there? Jesus makes it plain that not only do we, He is keeping an eye on the balance. One thing God makes perfectly clear in this passage is that earthly “deposits” do us absolutely no good at all. Any treasures we accumulate here will eventually be destroyed, or stolen, but whatever the outcome they remain part of this world and not the next. The only “safe” place to make deposits is in God's domain, and the place where we will spend eternity with Him.

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV

"but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,”

The next question that should come to mind is how do we make deposits in our heavenly account? Jesus seems to make it pretty clear that the “what” we seek to deposit is a result of our works or service for Him. When you become a believer in Christ you make a commitment in love to serve Him. Our actions here on earth should reflect not only our desire to serve God, but our awareness that what we do here on earth for Him is being added to our heavenly account. Do the choices you make every day show you are focused on your heavenly account, or are you more concerned with spending time adding to your earthly account? One of the best lines I have heard on this subject came from a sermon by Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship when he said “you can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead”. The smallest effort done in the name of God for His glory makes a deposit in our heavenly account. We often see people doing great things for God and think that we could never do that, but in God's eyes it is not the size of the gift, but the giving that matters. If we do anything for the glory of God, it counts in God's eyes.

"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."
Matthew 10:42 NKJV

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

A question that anyone who has ever had children can relate to is “why”? It seems children are always asking that question in response to practically anything they are asked to do. Something I learned early on in my study of scripture is that God anticipates His children asking that same question so He always tells us the reason we are told to do something. Here we are told that first of all, our “treasure” has a very powerful hold upon our “heart”. Have you ever found yourself consumed by the desire to acquire something? We often go to extremes in order to save enough or budget enough to get whatever it is our heart desires. Be it a car, a house, a vacation in an exotic location, whatever, we can at times be consumed by the “desire to acquire”. So the question God is asking us here is do we have that same desire and commitment to deposit into our heavenly account? Now here is a surprise. If you look up the definition of the word treasure in this verse you will find that it does not mean “what” but “where”. That's right, the word th─ôsauros means “the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up”. So what God is telling us is that because our heart determines our focus, we need to make sure our hearts desire is to deposit in our heavenly account because we can't do both!

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 NKJV

Is this difficult to do? Absolutely! Most of us live a comfortable life in a nice house with a nice car, and take a vacation every year. God's question to us is just how much time and effort did it take to get that and maintain it? Is our focus on this life and the “things” it has to offer, or is our heart focused on serving Him and making deposits in heaven?

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Matthew 19:21-22 NKJV

How easy it is to become attached to the things of this earth to such a degree that we are consumed with getting and keeping them and maintaining a lifestyle that the world would approve of. The question here is how many of us are going to arrive in heaven only to find our heavenly account is overdrawn? Have you noticed lately how many people are jumping on the “end times” bandwagon? I am amazed every day as I read accounts where people are starting to ask the question and speculate about the possibility that we actually are approaching the end of this age. I certainly believe we could see the rapture of the church at any time, so it goes without saying that if you believe as I do that the end is near, don't you think it's a good idea to check the balance in your heavenly account? We don't have much time left to make our deposits, so join me in doing as much as we can in the short time we have left.

Keep watching.