Sunday, March 25, 2007

Treasures In Heaven

And he said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:15 - 21).

Your life is a treasure from God. God has created your life and back to God one day you will return. God has given you a conscience to determine right from wrong. The fact that you have a conscience testifies to the fact that God created you. God also created the heavens and the earth. He created the stars, skies, seas, mountains, and trees, and all of creation testifies to His glory. You believe God created the heavens and the earth because you see God’s splendid majesty in His work of creation.

God has not only created your life, and the heavens and the earth, but He has also given you treasures on this earth as gifts. God has provided you with food, clothing, your job, your home, apartment, and He has also given you possessions. This is because our God is a God who provides for His children. He does this with the hope that we would be good stewards of the treasures He has given us.

Your life on this earth will come to an end. Many of you probably think you will live to the age of 70, 80, or maybe 90 if you are lucky. But I want to remind you that you do not know how long your life on this earth will last. In 2005, 42,636 people died in car accidents in America. 42,636 deaths. You do not know how long your life on this earth will last. Your life on earth is only a temporary assignment. The rich man in the parable made the wrong decision when he decided to build larger barns (Luke 12:18). He was trying to find fulfillment in his possessions. He thought to himself, “I’m going to eat, drink and be merry (Luke 20:19). I only live once. So why not get as much as I can?” In America, we think the same way. You only live once, so get and accumulate as much you can. But God said to the rich man: “Fool! This night your soul is required of you” (Luke 12:20). You do not know when your time is going to come. You do not know when you are going to die. You and I are going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ and will given an account of what we did with the treasures God entrusted to us on this earth. You do not know when your time is going to come.

Your life does not consist in your status in the world, but in your standing in Christ. Your life is not about seeking satisfaction and fulfillment in this world. It is about finding fulfillment in the Bread of Life who is able to satisfy your soul. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life who fulfills your heart and satisfies your life. Jesus Christ has conquered death by rising from it and He is the meaning of life. He will give you fulfillment and satisfaction so that you would not seek fulfillment in the things of this world, but so that you would find joy, fulfillment, and security in Him.

Now that you have been saved, your treasures are to be used not hoarded. That is, with your treasures, you are to give, not store things away. Life is not about how much you can get or accumulate, but how much you can give and share. The rich man in the parable did not understand that his possessions were not his, but God’s. If he realized this, he would have been a better steward with the gifts God gave him. He said, “What am I going to do with my crops (v. 17), with my barns (v. 18), with my grain (v. 18), with my goods (v. 18)?” He did not understand that God gave him possessions as treasures to give. He thought they were his to hoard. Before Jesus told the parable He said: “Your life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions” (Luke 12:15). You are not going to take your money, car, and house to heaven. A New York journalist wrote on March 6th concerning Tuesday’s upcoming lottery: “Lottery players lined up at ticket machines across the country Tuesday, dreaming about the fat bank accounts and permanent vacations that winning the record $370 million dollar jackpot would bring. New Yorkers were buying more than one million tickets an hour….Virginia retailers were selling 8,550 tickets per minute as Tuesday night’s drawing approached.” How many of the millions of people who bought a lotto ticket do you think were planning on using the money to help plant churches? How many of the millions of people were hoping to use the money to help the poor in third world countries? How many know that there is only a one in 13.9 million chance that they are going to win? And so what if you win? What if you were that one? You might win the lottery and die the next day. Your life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions. So if life is not about you and me, what is it about? It is about Jesus Christ who is King and we His servants who have been redeemed by Him. Life is not about how much you can get but about how much you can give. Life is not about accumulating but it is about sharing. In Luke’s gospel he describes many people who were lovers of money. In contrast to this, in the Book of Acts, Luke describes the early church as people who shared with each other and had all things in common. The early Christians knew that life was only a temporary assignment. They knew that life did not consist in the abundance of their possessions. Some people knew that their properties were bigger than they needed, so they sold them and shared the money with the church. People said, “That person needs clothes, I have some. That person needs money, I can help.” This is what it means to be rich towards God and store up treasures in heaven (Luke 12:21). So what can you do today? You can give to the poor around you. You can give clothes to people who are in need of some. You can give food to those who are hungry. Give to those who ask of you and do not expect repayment. In America, we think that if we give someone $10 then they owe us $10. But Jesus says to give and not expect repayment. You can also give to the church to further the kingdom of God. Some people think that giving to the church is giving to a non-profit organization to only further its success. But giving to the church is about building the kingdom. It is about the people of God having resources so the kingdom of God would increase and advance. It is about the Word of God increasing in our community and city. It is about the spread of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as we give and share, we await the Lord who promises to come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

At the resurrection you will have treasures in heaven. When Jesus comes again in glory to raise all the dead He will give believers eternal life. Then you will have treasures in heaven. So believe that God created you and has given you treasures on this earth as gifts. Believe that God created you and back to God you will return. Believe that life is only a temporary assignment. Your citizenship is not on this earth, but your citizenship is in heaven. Therefore, live as strangers here knowing that eternity awaits you. Then at the end, Jesus will say to you: “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master. Go…and have treasures in heaven.”

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