It's Good To Be Greedy Part 2

In the last article we started looking at the passage in Matthew chapter 6, “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.” (6:19-21) This passage can basically be broken down into three sections: 1. What not to do (command 1) 2. What to do (command 2) and 3. A spiritual indicator. In this article we will look at what Jesus tells us to do (command 2).

The second thing Jesus tells us to do is to “...lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” What are these treasures in heaven? If I am supposed to stockpile them in heaven, then what are they? The Bible is clear that we are rewarded in heaven for our life down here. We will get rewards for doing good works (Ephesians 6:8, Romans 2:6,10), persevering under persecution (Luke 6:22-23), showing compassion (Luke 14:13-14), treating our enemies kindly (Luke 6:35), giving (Matthew 19:21), small acts of kindness (Matthew 10:42) and your prayers (Matthew 6:6). Now to be clear, this has nothing to do with salvation. Our entrance into heaven is through Christ alone and not our works (Ephesians 2:8-10). But for those already saved, they are rewarded for what they do here when they get to heaven. In fact Paul warns the Corinthians that God will test everyone's good deeds to see if they were even done for the right reasons (1 Corinthians 312-15). I mentioned last week that a treasure is something you value. Well a treasure in heaven is due to your actions because you treasure God in your heart. So the command by Jesus here is essentially to live in a manner to be rewarded greatly in heaven by God!

Now why would He tell us this? He actually gives us a very logical reason: “...neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal…” See that? Nothing will happen to your valuables! With everything we have here on earth two things are possible; they either grow old and useless or something happens to them. All our stuff (including ourselves!) will eventually expire. Also, sometimes something may happen to ruin them before they expire. That is why we buy insurance. We have home owners in case something happens to our home or the things in it.  We have car insurance in case something happens to our cars. Some women insure their jewelry for the possibility of them being lost or stolen. We even have insurance for our own lives in case something happens to that! But not our treasures in heaven! They will always be there. Nothing will happen to them and they will never become old and useless. So Jesus is basically presenting to us a logical deduction. Why would you invest in something that is short lived, when you can invest in something that is eternal? Why waste time, money, energy and emotion on things that eventually end up in the scrap yard? Why not spend that same time, money, effort and emotion on something that will last longer than you will?!

But doesn’t this sound a little wrong? I thought we live for God because of love and Him doing nice things for me? Isn’t this a little on the greedy side? Isn’t greed a sin?!?!?! Doesn’t this sound a little selfish? “Hey, make sure you do the right things so that you can be loaded in heaven.” Isn’t this all wrong? Can this possibly be biblical? Yes! In talking to the Philipians about their giving, Paul said that, “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.” (Philippians 4:17) For every true Christian there is an account in heaven, and for every godly act made we are depositing into that account. The bible even teaches us that the smallest minuscule actions are noticed by Him for you to be properly rewarded (Matthew 10:42).  Randy Alcorn on this says, “But isn’t it wrong to be motivated by reward? No, it isn’t. If it were wrong, Christ wouldn't offer it to us as a motivation. Reward is His idea, not ours.” In fact John warns us to, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.” (2 John 1:8)

There is definitely a part to this about having the right heart behind these actions. We will cover that in the next article. But for now, realize that you are being foolish if you spend time and money on the things of this earth. You are being a poor investor if you build up a large amount of stuff here on earth. The wise action is to build yourself treasures in heaven.

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