Just as Jesus taught spiritual principles using the example of being responsible to multiply our wealth, He also taught us to watch out for spiritual traps – again using money as an example. In both cases, these principles apply to money and to other areas of life as well.
In the story we related Friday, neither Peter nor the rich, young ruler had yet grasped the essence of the Kingdom of God. Nor did they fully understand what was required to be fully granted the blessings or prosperity in the Kingdom. As Jesus clearly stated, the necessity is to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. He also clearly stated that one’s reward is not only in heaven, but also in this life, even of a hundred fold. When a person is firmly established in the Kingdom, God then will bless Him with a life of abundance – in this one as well as in the one to come. (This may or may not include worldly wealth for different individuals depending on their calling, roles, and understanding of stewardship principles.) But Jesus clearly says that our blessings are not all just intangible future mysteries, but also include blessings in the here and now that we can clearly understand. That is a wonderful promise! Yet, the rich, young ruler could not set aside these things for God. The wealth that he had was not in itself bad, but because he held it between himself and God, for him, it was the worst thing possible.
Jesus also mentioned storing up treasures in Heaven…
19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:19-24 NASB)
It is easy to understand what Jesus is teaching. All of our earthly wealth will fade away and have no impact on our eternal lives. Only those Kingdom actions that we take, in obedience to our Heavenly Father, will have impact in our eternal lives. Thus when we rely on “stuff” for our comfort, that comfort will be short and followed by disappointment. If on the other hand, we use the material wealth that we steward to impact the world for His Kingdom, we will gain eternal riches for ourselves.
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Photo credit: CharlesLam