“Lay up for yourselves what?”
Thanks, that’s just what I’ve been asking myself. Jesus, could you be a little more specific so I can determine if what I “lay up” is on track with what you had in mind? I get it that you are the ultimate treasure and that I am to align my life with yours, thereby assuring the eternal reward of being in your presence forever and enjoying whatever heavenly rewards and benefits you see fit to bestow upon me. But is there a yellow and black book titled “Laying up Treasure for Dummies” that I can draw from?
Let me take stock of what I have, God, what you have given me. I have an allotted Time. (How much only you know) I have some Talents/Skills. (A few abilities and tricks of the trade) You have allotted me some “stuff”, some ”Treasure”. (Yes, I have some material resources and you know I still struggle with wanting more and better).
In 1 Peter 1:3-6 you speak of me having “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” What goes into creating that? Our earthly battle is between valuing the future vs. the here and now; the temporal vs. the permanent. I hear your voice echo “where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:19) I can see where “moths” may represent those pesky, unseen conditions and attitudes that can spoil even the temporary joy of ownership and envision “rust” as age, time, and familiarity corrode the shine on what seemed so precious and valuable. Sort of like the feeling one gets when that first set of noticeable scratches appears on our new car. The thrill is gone. And “thieves,” those “thieves,” who for the fear of loss create in me a mind full of obsession to hold things close and protect to keep..
Micah 6:8 recounts enduring character qualities which God “treasures” as we walk the earth. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Would honoring God by living by those attributes before others and enriching their lives fall into the mix of heavenly treasure? I suppose. Jesus surely was a living, breathing example of these and his example must have meant something. He didn’t need to “lay up treasure” but I think modeling the practice was part of his mission. These were not merely concepts, but attributes at work in interaction with others. We can do likewise and lay these up, treasure like that.
I believe a lot of this treasure talk has to do with abiding closely with Christ so that his life becomes our life. Transformation. Christ in us and us in Christ. (John 14:20) Through selflessness and personal sacrifice, thinking of the needs of others in our various observations and personal interactions and making some headway towards putting others first and ourselves second has to make heaven smile. Such a perspective on life would have eternal implications through the investments of all our resources of time, talent and treasure.
The Apostle Paul clearly warns in 1 Cor. 3 that having Jesus in us is what provides the laying our faith foundation, establishing fertile ground for an eternal perspective like his. No-one else and nothing else can provide that. Paul’s admonition warns us to be cautious of what we build with upon the foundation Jesus began. The only things of value to God, the only assets we can look forward to as paid forward, spring from building with eternal materials and not those that fire and time can consume such as wood, hay and stubble. God views the eternal building stones, those works of love and sacrifice, as precious. He said as much.
It’s likely that a lot of prayer, daily prayer and “situational” prayer will be in great need at first as we seek to see our life perspectives and life patterns transformed to where we seek to see what God sees as eternal investments and allow him to cultivate our will to do “heavenly” things and not settle for “lesser,” earthly things. I honestly believe once we begin this adventure and see the impact it has on those we humble ourselves to serve, those we surprise by our “heavenly” acts, we will call people’s attention to the fact that there is a real living God, that he is present with us and that he is worth exploring. Think About It.