"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. So, stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe. ...
For Jesus made it clear that having the wrong treasures lead to our hearts being in the wrong place. Because, what we treasure the most controls us, whether we admit it or not. So, if possessions or money become too important to us, we must re-establish control or get rid of items.
Therefore, weary not yourself to be rich; [and] cease from your own [human] wisdom. For, riches disappear in the blink of an eye; [and] wealth sprouts wings and flies off into the wild blue yonder. So,... don't spend your time chasing fleeting earthly treasures. Because, a miser in a hurry to get rich doesn't know that he'll end up broke.
So,... if you would be perfect [that is, have that spiritual maturity which accompanies self-sacrificing character], go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven;... . For, this kind of attitude allows nothing to come between us and God and keeps us from using our God-given wealth selfishly. ...
Therefore, let me share with you a story --
As Jesus went out into the street, a man came running up and greeted him with reverence,... asking, "Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?" And Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honor your father and mother." He said, "Teacher, I have from my youth - kept them all!" But Jesus looked him hard in the eye - and loved him! He said, "There's one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. For then, all your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me." Suddenly the man's face clouded over. For this was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. Because he was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let go. So, looking at his disciples, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who 'have it all' to enter God's Kingdom?"... "You can't imagine how difficult. Therefore, I'd say it's easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for the rich to get into God's Kingdom. So, what does your money mean to you?
Here's another story --
..."The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. Yet while, he talked to himself [he said]: 'What can I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' So,... here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, and I'll say to myself, self, you've done well! You've got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life. But, just then God showed up and said, 'Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods -- who gets it?' So, that's what happens when you fill your barn with self and not with God." Therefore,... if you accumulate wealth only to enrich yourself, with no concern for helping others, you will enter eternity empty-handed. So, sell your possessions and give to those in need. ... For money seen as an end in itself quickly traps us and cuts us off from both God and the needy. ... Therefore, if your financial goals and possessions hinder you from giving generously, loving others, or serving God, then sell what you must to bring your life into line with his purposes.
Here's another story --
..."There was once a rich man who had a manager. He got reports that the manager had been taking advantage of his position by running up huge personal expenses. So he called him in and said, 'What's thsi I hear about you? You're fired. And I want a complete audit of your books. "The manager said to himself, 'What am I going to do? I've lost my job as manager. I'm not strong enough for a laboring job, and I'm too proud to beg... Ah, I've got a plan. Here's what I'll do... then when I'm turned out into the street, people will take me into their houses.'
"Then he went at it. One after another, he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' "He replied, 'A hundred jugs of olive oil.' "The manager said, 'Here, take your bill, sit down here - quick now - write fifty.' "To the next, he said, 'And you, what do you owe?' "He answered, 'A hundred sacks of wheat.' "He said, 'Take your bill, write in eighty.' "Now here's a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself.
And so I say, that streetwise people are smarter in this regard then law-abiding citizens. For they are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. Therefore, I want you to be smart in the same way but for what is right - using every adversity to stimulate you to create survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you'll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior."
And this is why, our use of money is a good test of the lordship of Christ because...:
1. First of all, money belongs to God, not us;...
2. Then second of all, money can be used for good or evil;...
3. And then last of all, money has a lot of power, so let us use it carefully and thoughtfully.
...So, if we use our money to help those in need or to help others find Christ, our earthly investment will bring eternal benefits. ... Whereas, oftentimes our integrity is... put on the line in money matters. And this is why, God calls us to be honest even in small details we could easily ignore. ...
So, see to it, that you maintain your integrity in all matters, whether big or small.
Because, money is a hard deceptive master. ... Therefore, how much better it is to let God be your master. For His servants have peace of mind and security both now and forever.
So, don't be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, "I'll never let you down, never walk off and leave you." Therefore, we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help. I'm fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?
Composed by Ann Munro