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 (Matthew 6:19-21).
When the stock market crashed in 1929, hundreds of people committed suicide, deciding that their lives were not worth living without their earthly treasures. In the wake of this economic disaster, the federal government launched the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC), which is designed to guarantee money put into America’s banks. Investors should be warned, however, that even this insurance is only as secure as the federal government. The good news is that there are investments we can make that are guaranteed by God Himself!
The problem with earthly wealth is that it can be lost so quickly and easily. Creatures as seemingly harmless as moths and termites can do tremendous damage. Floods, fires, storms, and earthquakes can destroy in minutes what took years to build. Furthermore, earthly wealth cannot give us the things we desire most. It can buy health care, but can it buy health? Instead of happiness, the desire for riches invites temptation, sorrow, and destruction (1 Timothy 6:9-10). As the rich young ruler learned, earthly riches often come at a very high cost (Matthew 19:21-22). The reality is that we will leave this world with nothing more than we carried into it (Job 1:21). Remembering this will help us keep things in proper perspective.
Jesus tells us to lay up our treasures in heaven––the only place they can be perfectly secure. The inheritance we have there is one that never fades away (1 Peter 1:4). One might save a lifetime to enjoy the fruits of his investments at retirement, but even if he lives to do that, how long will it last? In heaven, my benefits are eternal, and I do not have to wait until I turn 65 to start receiving them (Mark 10:29-31)! Like earthly treasures, however, heavenly riches come at a cost. The one who stores up treasure in heaven must be willing to surrender all he has in order to obtain them (Matthew 13:44). In fact, he must give up his very life (Luke 9:23-24). But the rewards far outweigh the price (Romans 8:18).
Ready to get started? Well, first you need to open an account. When you open an account at a bank, you sign an agreement disclosing the terms about rates, withdrawals, overdrafts, etc. To open an account in heaven, you make a covenant with God that is sealed by Christ’s blood (Hebrews 10:29) by being baptized into Christ’s death (Colossians 2:11-13; Romans 6:3). Once you enter this covenant, you can make deposits by bearing under persecution (Matthew 5:10-12), praying and doing charitable deeds in secret (6:1-8), and forgiving others (6:14-15). In short, you store up heavenly treasure when you make God’s kingdom the top priority in your life (6:33).
The tombs of the Pharaohs were guarded for centuries, but eventually they were all abandoned and looted. The treasures that we lay up for ourselves in this world will all be destroyed someday, but the treasures we lay up in heaven are perfectly secure and will benefit us eternally. You might say that the only true safe deposit box is in heaven. Would you like to open an account?
Copyright © 2016 by Roby Ellis, in The Elizabethton Edifier, March 27.