Heart Exam: A Treasure Chest
“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:33-34
In order for us to be acceptable in God’s sight, we need to first consider Who is the source our blessings. Many passages in God’s word describe His commandments regarding the stewardship of our earthly blessings. When we obey God, we enjoy the serenity of the righteous that is in contrast to the serious consequences for focusing on material things.
Source of Our Blessings
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 - “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
This passage begins with a warning to guard our heart against prideful thinking. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 also exhorts us to remember that God is the source of our earthly blessings. For example, Proverbs 19:14 states that “a prudent wife is from the Lord.”
Stewardship of Our Blessings
Proverbs 3:9-10 - “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
This proverb does not imply that our giving will make us materially wealthy. Sound biblical interpretation applies the principle that a conclusion drawn from a scripture must be in agreement with both the local and global (i.e. the entire Bible) context. Five passages illustrate the application of this approach to gain better understanding of a passage.
First, 1 John 2:15-17 states, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” Second, Mark 10:21-22 describes a rich young ruler who chose material wealth instead of following Jesus. Third, Matthew 6:33 commands us to “seek first the kingdom of God” with the promise that God will provide for our needs. Fourth, we learn in Ephesians 1:3 that God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Fifth, 2 Corinthians 2:18 states “the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Therefore, the focus of our life should be serving God instead of material wealth, because this world is temporary.
Serenity of the Righteous
Psalms 49:5-7 - “Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life.”
There are five lessons we can learn from this passage:
- The love of money leads to dishonesty.
- We should not put our trust in our material wealth.
- Pride is never commended in the scriptures.
- No amount of material wealth can save us from death.
- We should fear God rather than man (Matthew 10:28) and remember that He care for us (Matthew 8:25-27, Mark 4:38-40, Luke 8:24-25, 1 Peter 5:7).
Psalms 112:1-3 also illustrates the peace we can enjoy when we “greatly delight” in God’s “commandments.”
Serious Consequences for Focusing on Material Things
Three passages illustrate the serious consequences for focusing on material things. First, Proverbs 11:7 states “when the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.” Second, we learn in Proverbs 22:16 that “whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.” Third, Proverbs 28:8 warns us that “whoever multiples his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.”
Two scriptures bring the importance of our stewardship into focus. First, we learn in James 4:13-14 that we “do not know what tomorrow will bring.” Second, 2 Corinthians 5:10 warns us that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
This article presents four truths contained in God’s word. First, God is the source of our material blessings. Second, God expects us to be good stewards of what He has given us by putting Him first in our lives. Third, we can enjoy God’s peace when we obey His commandments. Fourth, there are serious consequences for focusing on material things.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.