Our LORD Jesus teaches:
“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.” Matthew 6:19-21
First off, please realize that Christ didn’t teach us here not to lay up treasures, but He did instruct us where to lay them up. He actually commands us here to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
God so loved that He gave and the giver experiences the joy Christ gives in doing that which is “more blessed” than withholding – “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) God didn’t withhold but rather gave that we might have life and we should give to obey Him and that others might be blessed (Jn. 3:16). Conversely, the person who withholds where he should give will reap accordingly. God’s Word informs us that the “love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10)
What has one truly given up when he gives liberally or bountifully to the work of the eternal Gospel? Here are a few things we should consider concerning what is accomplished when we give financially to Christ’s work in the earth… When we give, we:
- Avert eternal judgment by giving away what we cannot keep to obtain what we cannot lose – in Heaven “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt.” (Matt. 6:19) Hoarding is sin (see James 5:1-4).
- Alleviate the worry of “thieves” who “break through and steal.” (Matt. 6:19)
- Giving frees the soul to serve and love God and not money.
- Giving keeps covetousness and greed at bay.
- When we give, we give up that which can hold us back from laying up the treasure that will never stop giving – “treasures in heaven.” (Matt. 6:20)
- Giving helps us to set our affection on heavenly things and not the things on the earth in order to direct our whole heart upward to the LORD because “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:21; Col. 3:1-4)
Make no mistake: Jesus is specifically speaking of financial giving in many of His teachings. Our giving is a measure of what is truly in our hearts. Remember His parables? What about Luke 12 and 16? Have you read these lately?
Liberal or Generous Giving
Hoarding or withholding is the opposite of liberality and generosity in heart and therefore in giving. Hoarding is the manifestation of unbelief (lack of trust in God) and selfishness. Unbelief is the root of all sin and will lead to eternal damnation (Heb. 3-4). Elijah trusted the LORD in the desert and He fed him by ravens (1 Kings 17:1-7). The LORD always provides and told us not to be as those without Him (heathen).
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:25-35
The happiest people are giving people. Lust gets love gives. People who trust God are not up tight. They are rather at peace. Joy comes from trusting and relying upon the LORD Almighty who has never in history failed one of His servants.
As a result of trusting Him we are free to be generous givers. God’s Word tells us that “the righteous giveth and spareth not.” (Prov. 21:26)
“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.” Proverbs 11:24-26
Those who scatter (plant seed liberally) increase while those who withhold come to spiritual poverty. A “curse” comes upon those who withhold and “blessing” upon those who release.
“Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:30-31
Hoarding is Sin
There is no sin in having wealth in this earth yet according to God’s Word to withhold undue portions is sin (Mk. 12:41-44).
“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire (hell). Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days (the end of your tyranny is near – agony awaits if you don’t repent).” James 5:1-4
Friend, are you truly willing to listen to what the LORD you claim to serve said about giving? If not, perhaps we are lawless in heart and suppose to be making up our own religion instead of bowing humbly in obedience under the lordship of Christ (Matt. 21:44; Jn. 12:24-26). He made it clear that only those who do His will know Him and will reign with Him in eternity (Matt. 7:21-23; Jn. 14:15, 21).
Jesus spoke about a widow who gave “all” even though she gave much less monetarily than those rich religious men. The Son of God who surveys how and what (how much) we give said of this woman – “of her want (lack; poverty) did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mk. 12:44) Have you stopped to meditate on this lesson Jesus gave us? What the poor widow did in giving all that she had out of her own lack, took much more faith than the rich religionists who cast in much out of their overflowing coffers. – “Without faith it is impossible to please him” and it doesn’t take much faith to cast in such a small percentage of what we possess because we have that temporal money to fall back on – to rely on instead of trusting God as Provider. Think about it – isn’t this why Jesus told us that very few rich people will go to Heaven? (Mk. 10:17-31; Heb. 11:6) A rich person who is not a liberal giver can insulate himself from needing God because of the wealth he is able to wield at any problem or need that arises. He finds himself in few positions that corner him into crying out to the LORD in deep and utter desperation. Such a position is to be pitied not coveted. Read 1 Timothy 6:6-17.
“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:41-44
When Jesus chose to go into the fellowship meeting of people who supposedly gathered to glorify God, He found some interesting things. Where did He choose to sit? – “Jesus sat over against the treasury (the place where people gave monetary offerings).” What was He looking for? – “Jesus…beheld how the people cast money into the treasury.” What did Christ discover? – “many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.” What was the conclusion of what He observed? – “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”
It was no strain for the rich to cast in what was a sizeable financial gift.
It was a real faith sacrifice for the poor widow woman to cast in all that she possessed. In this the LORD was pleased. This is the kind of faith in giving that impresses God. King David said “neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2 Sam. 24:24)
“Rich Toward God”
“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” Proverbs 13:7
We are all being weighed in the balance by the eternal God. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever and watches how and how much we give (Mk. 12:41-44; Heb. 13:8). He wants our hearts – our whole lives. When our hearts are truly His, so will be our monies (Matt. 6:21).
What is your real net worth? How does God determine your net worth? In eternal terms, right? – “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matt. 6:20) What is your true net worth – in eternal terms? There are those, even ones who claim to be following Christ, who in heart think themselves to be “well off” or “set.” Instead of giving more to further the cause of the Gospel, in their prosperity they have said in their hearts “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee…” (Lk. 12:18-20)
The absurdity of this depraved thinking is that these same people have not much visible fruitfulness consistent with the true Christian life as defined by the reality of Holy Scripture (Gal. 5:22-23). The fruit or evidence of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling a person is “love, joy, peace…” Love is always – without fail – giving (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 13). So what is their true net worth in the eyes of the One whom they and all of us will soon stand before to give account for every intent of heart and work done in the flesh in this fleeting earthly life? Are we open to allowing the Judge to answer this for Himself?
“And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21
According to Jesus Christ, those who build fleeting wealth in this world without being “rich toward God” are hell bound. – “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Lk. 12:20) See also Luke 16:19-31.
The rich will not be penalized because they possess earthly monetary wealth, yet if they do not aggressively and diligently find people and ministries to give it to, God will judge them – “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.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19)
Note here in Luke 12 what the Master calls the one who seeks earthly treasures apart from being “rich toward God” – “thou fool.”
- “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to obtain what he cannot lose.” Missionary and martyr for Jesus, Jim Elliott
Jim Elliott had little in the way of material wealth in his earthly life, but what treasures do you think he possesses now and forevermore in Heaven?
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Jesus here (Luke 12) warns us to “beware of covetousness” and informs us that a man’s significance and true net worth is not based upon (has nothing to do with) what his financial bottom line is on earth – “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Lk. 12:15) The true believer must endeavor to see all of life through the eyes of the eternal One ho is the Author of all life. This is only possible through an intimate relationship with Him, he Holy Ghost, and observing “the thoughts of heart” which has been given to “all generations” in His written Counsel (Ps. 33:11).
Those born again from above can “see” the kingdom through Heaven’s eyes (Jn. 3:3). Never judge a man or woman by what their financial state is in this passing life. Ever see the bumper sticker that says “Don’t Laugh, My Treasure is in Heaven”? Is truth in this statement? Where is your treasure? Remember that heart affections and treasures are linked by Christ who stated “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:21)
The Holy Spirit instructs the saint to “withdraw thyself” from those who equate financial gain with being godly – who say that “gain is godliness.” (1 Tim. 6:3-5) Note: You will need to study this passage in 1 Timothy 6 from the Authorized Version (KJV) because the artificial versions have perverted the text by removing Christ’s instruction to His people to withdraw themselves from such false teaching. The phrase “from such withdraw thyself” is in the original Greek, but Satan didn’t want the LORD’s people to have this truth (Mk. 4:15). The LORD graciously preserved His Word as He promised in the KJV (Ps. 12:6-7). For this we give Him thanks! For a deeper study of this topic go to the “Bible Versions” button on the ministry site www.SafeGuardYourSoul.com.
Christ instructed us to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (Jn. 7:24) The reader who is a disciple of Jesus Christ should here and now bow and repent for having ever judged another person using any other criteria than God’s Word and how Christ came to earth to pay the price for each of us who are spiritual paupers (1 Tim. 1:15). A fitting prayer could be as such: LORD Jesus, thank You for dying for my sins without which I would have no hope here or hereafter. Without You I can do nothing and have nothing. At this moment and here forward, I choose not to ever judge anyone (including myself) by shallow things such as what someone has on or what kind of car they drive or place they live in. Amen.
James tells us that we “are become judges of evil thoughts” and “convinced of the law as transgressors” if we size people up by their momentary monetary worth. Please read this following passage prayerfully and closely, asking Christ what He would have you to personally learn in what He is speaking here:
“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” James 2:1-9
God bless you child of His – to number your days, realizing that your time on this earth is short to prove your love for Him by keeping a loose hold on this temporal world, escaping the lure thereof and laying up treasure in heavenly places for eternal blessings to abound. – “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12)
Praising Him in Much or in Little
Look at this golden passage from the prophet Habakkuk:
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
Let us resolve to never base our praise for the eternal God upon how much or how little in the way of material possessions we currently possess. I will worship and praise His holy name who is my wealth -whether in much or in little. Paul the apostle said “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4:11)
PRAYER: Father, please strike my heart with Thy holy fear. I delight to do Thy will LORD. Jesus I choose this day forward to emulate You in being a giver. You loved and gave Your very life blood for my sins on the cross and for this I thank You my Savior. Teach me to understand that my days are numbered in this life and to build for the eternal future glory of Your holy kingdom and name. Glory to God forever!
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Beware of Covetousness (audio)
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