Sunday, 10 January 2010

Do Not Store Up Treasures?

I had a new insight, at least new for me, this morning in our adult Sunday School class.

Is there anyone out there who attends such a class? Is there anyone who doesn't? I would heartily recommend it for anyone. I have been blessed many times just through sharing the Scriptures with other adult believers and having my eyes opened to fresh insights in ways I had never seen or thought before. Such a time was this morning.

The passage was Matthew 6:19-21
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 moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I had often considered that the emphasis here was on, "not storing up treasures", and I must say it led to some conflicting thoughts. Are we not to have material possessions? Are we not to have bank accounts or RRSP's? There were a number of people in the class, from the poorest of the poor (as our society would count them) to the fairly well off. Where is the line to be drawn? I have heard it said, and would have interpreted it this way myself, if pressed, that we should not store up in the sense that we begin to rely on our possessions rather than God. In other words, not to put our faith in our things, rather than in God. And indeed, that can be inferred from the text, but it is not stated as such explicitly. But again, where is the line to be drawn? How much stuff is too much? One person's convenience is another's extravagance.

And then my eyes were opened to something new. I concentrated on the first few words, and it struck me that when we read Scripture, we need to see every word, leaving nothing out. Often, I think, we have understood a certain passage in a certain way for so long that we just don't question whether it could actually be seen in a different way. Now this may not be what you would call a completely new revelation, but to me, I saw things in a whole new light.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth..."

I had always focused on the first four words, "Do not store up...", and thought that that was where the emphasis was... on storing up. And this was what led to such conflicting feelings, as to whether I should worry about a retirement fund, for instance.

But then my eyes fell on the next two words; "for yourselves..." and I felt I had found some kind of key. Jesus was not being critical of storing up, but for whom we are storing. The key is not to store up, "for ourselves." We are not to store selfishly. As Christians, everything we own (and that may be much or little) should be at God's disposal. That includes all our possessions, whether we consider them necessities, such as a home, or luxuries, such as cars or televisions or DVD players. And yes, even our retirement incomes. It should always, all, be available to God, for Him to use at His discretion.

It's not that we shouldn't have these things, but are are we sure they are completely at God's disposal, all the time?

Take Care


Dave Groff said...

Good thoughts, John, but there are still some words left. Randy Alcorn has opened up my eyes to the idea of storing up treasure for OURSELVES in Heaven. I'm not sure what all that entails, but God still wants us to have treasure and for all eternity! He wants us to invest in what will last forever.


John K said...

Thanks Dave. I know I stopped short but, boy, the point you raise! Isn't that a whole 'nother thing to ponder? Scripture certainly is a wonderfully bottomless well, isn't it?