Where Your Treasure Is
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mt. 6:19-21
In a time of severe unemployment, I am reminded of how Charles Swindoll used these humorous definitions to make a point:
Recession: When the man next door loses his job.
Depression: When you lose your job.
Panic: When your wife loses her job.
This spring as part of our “Temptations of the Times” series, I taught on how the Bible does not advocate socialism. Socialism, if it has a good face, appears to have this virtue: it is an economic system that attempts to outlaw greed. The Bible, however, approaches that temptation with a different remedy (see the Lessons tab under Resources on our website). It calls us, as our Master taught, to store up treasures in heaven—not so much on earth. Jesus, in the verses above, stressed that we should be seeking to invest in things that last, things of eternal value—and that our hearts will be roped to such treasures, whether earthly or heavenly.
Recent months have probably exposed where our treasures are like few other historical periods. An OT Proverb similarly cautions us to take care of wealth, but don’t fall in love with it. Proverbs 27:24 says, “For riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”
Mastering these has led many nations and families to lasting wealth. God’s Word has much to say to us on this topic. I thought it might be helpful to give you a list of timeless bible verses from a single book of the Bible on this subject. Maybe it would help you to spend a few days reading these. Our children and grandchildren, especially as schools resume, would also benefit, I’m sure, from this coursework. I hope these verses below from Proverbs become part of your ongoing stewardship.
Proverbs on Money, Investing, and Envy
6: 1-5, 6-8, 9-11
10: 2, 4, 15, 16, 22
11: 4, 7, 16, 18, 24-26, 28-29
12: 9, 11, 24, 27
13: 7-8, 11, 21-23
15: 6, 16, 25, 27
16: 8, 11,16, 19, 26
17: 16, 18, 20A
18: 9,11, 16, 23
19: 1, 4, 6-7,1 4, 17, 24
20: 4, 13, 16, 21
21: 5-6, 17, 25-26
22: 2, 4, 7, 9, 16
23: 4-5, 7
26: 10, 13-16
28: 6, 8,16B, 20, 22, 25, 27
Mastering these revealed practices will help us keep material goods in proper perspective.
- Ill-gotten treasures are of no value.
- Wealth per se is not condemned.
- Wealth has limited long-range help, however; don’t idolize it.
- Wealth does not endure.
- Godly obedience or righteousness is more valuable.
Examine your online statements and credit accounts sometime to note spending patterns. And ask: Are these in line with Proverbs? Are they in line with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6?
Let me conclude with Six Principles of Money Management from Proverbs.
- Those who honor God with their money are blessed in return. (3:9-10, 10:22, 13:21) “You can tell much more about an individual’s dedication to God by looking at that person’s bank statement than by looking at his/her Bible.”
- Those who make riches their passion lose much more than they gain. (23:4-5; 28:19-20, 22)
- Wisdom gives wealth guidance. (16:16)
- Increased riches bring increased complications (19:4, 18:23; 29:3). “If you had the choice between increased wisdom or increased wealth, which would you accept and why?”
- Money cannot buy life’s most valuable possessions. (15:16-17; 22:1; 28:6)
- If handled wisely, money can be a means of great encouragement, but if mishandled, great stress. (13:21-22; 22:7)
Are you storing up treasures in heaven? Or will your treasures dissipate? May our hearts be yoked to heaven first; our checkbooks follow their true north star.