I remember when I was small that I prayed to God, “Please don’t send Jesus back to the earth soon. There are too many things I want to do! I don’t want Jesus to come back yet.” I was five or six when I prayed that prayer, and I look back on it and think, “How could I not have wanted Jesus to come back?” It was because at that age, I just focused on my physical future. I can also remember the first time I prayed, “Jesus, come quickly! I don’t want to deal with temptations any more. I want to be with you.” I finally understood what heaven is worth, so I longed to be there, and I understood that my physical future won’t give me eternal joy.
Proverbs 27:24 reads: “For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” We know this is true: clothes get dirty; houses need repair. Even our own bodies are decaying; some day we will all die. Not only does time destroy riches, but riches can also be taken from us. The rich farmer in Luke 12 gained many crops and had to build bigger barns to store them all in, yet in the end God said to him: “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you” (vs. 20). Jesus said, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (vs. 21). Clearly we can’t trust in things so transient.
But we also see that riches in heaven do last: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Our home is not on this earth, as 2 Corinthians 5:1 tells us: “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
Obtaining Heavenly Riches
But how can we lay up those heavenly treasures? It is through Jesus’ sacrifice: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Christ gave up heaven, where every angel worshiped Him, to experience the humiliation of humanity and to die an agonizing death for us. But His sacrifice for us is useless if we don’t respond properly to it. Jesus said in John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.”
We need to make sure our lives match the life of Jesus. There are also some practical points we can take from 1 Timothy 6:17-19: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Earthly treasures will not last; they are perishable. There is only one reward that will last: heaven. If we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven and obey the commands Jesus Christ lays out for us, we will go to that eternal home. Christ gave up His own riches and His very life so that we could have that opportunity. Will you follow Him?