Lay Up Treasure In Heaven!

As coincidence would have it, I came across the term ‘mortgaged’ (Nehemiah 5v3) in my daily reading this morning – something which I found to be so relevant after listening to angry bank customers here in Ireland recently. After a week of speculation on Ireland’s budget/austerity measures; the initial reluctance of some banks to pass on lowered interest rates to mortgage holders – and a weakening Euro, it is so easy to become pre-occupied with how all of this could affect us as individuals. Then I turned to the simple and very beautiful words of Jesus in Matthew 6v28… “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

I also think of His words earlier in the chapter: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6v19-21)

Recently I learned from an elderly friend that many of her acquaintances were worried about the whole financial situation here in Ireland- so much so that they had taken their entire life-savings out of the banks and hidden it below the floorboards of their homes! I can only imagine all of the things that could happen to those bank notes; mice love to gnaw on paper for one thing and as for thieves – almost every house in my own neighbourhood has been broken into at some time or other.

My thoughts then turned to Paul’s words to Timothy in 1Timothy 6v17-19: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

How uncertain are riches indeed – and how deceitful! (Matthew 13v22) We live in an era when global greed and dishonesty continues to threaten the livelihoods of millions of people but if we know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we should understand the depths of these words: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1Tim. 6v6-8) Yes, there is much to be learned from the lilies of the field and the birds of the air!

At the same time Christians, if they are asked for an opinion, must declare their opposition to the corruption that exists in their countries. I think again on those words which made Nehemiah angry… “We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth.” (Nehemiah 5v3) How I admire the faith and determination of Nehemiah who looked to his Lord for provision and for guidance in all that he undertook; in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls, and how marvellous that this practice of usury was reformed, under the Lord’s direction!

Yes, those who love the Lord currently live in an uncertain and corrupt world where honesty and integrity are rare; yet in this awful darkness we must let our lights shine out brightly. In the words of Paul to the Philippians: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights of the world;” (Philippians 2v15)

Some day (perhaps sooner than we think) our material possessions will fade away and only those unseen attributes of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5v22&23) which the Lord bestows upon those who trust Him will remain.

In the words of Jesus: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6v24)

My prayer is that souls in our spiritually dark world would be touched and turn to the Lord because of the riches of love, joy, peace and uprightness that they witness in the lives of those who are His followers.

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