The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…” (Matthew 6:19)
Around Christmas time one year, my six-year-old brought an American Girl catalogue to her mother. “Mom,” Susanna said as she pointed to it, “if I could have everything on this page, I would be happy.”
Cindy sat down with our youngest and explained to her how our hearts are almost never satisfied. “The more you have, Susanna, the more you will want.” Susanna seemed to understand and went outside to play.
John Wesley once rode on horseback for hours over a huge estate with the plantation owner. They did not see all of it, so vast was the property. Over dinner that night, the land baron proudly asked, “Well, Mr. Wesley, what do you think?” The evangelist replied, “I think you’re going to have a hard time leaving all this.”
The problem with the stuff that most of us spend our lives trying to attain is that every bit of it ends up at the landfill. It all rots or fades or rusts or falls apart. Not only that, but before it falls apart it consumes all of our waking hours taking care of it, maintaining it, refinishing it, tuning it up, washing it, babying it, tinkering with it. Then it falls apart anyway!
W. H. Vanderbilt said, “The care of 200 million dollars is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.” Many of you will read that and think to yourself, “Old Vandy might have struggled with having riches, but not me. Just let me try it for a year, or even a month!” The Bible says, however, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction.”
That doesn’t sound like “the good life” to me.
In his book, The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn writes that people often say, “I want to have a heart for missions.” Alcorn responds, “Jesus tells you exactly how to get it. Put your money in missions and in your church and in helping the poor, and your heart will follow.”
Jesus said “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Those who say they want to have a heart for missions must put their money where their mouth is … and their heart will come along! Not only that, but they will be storing up treasures in heaven, where “no thief approaches nor moth destroys.”
Most Americans continue to pursue the elusive “dream,” however, even at the expense of the true treasures that languish around their feet. According to the PBS special, “Affluenza,” the average American shops 6 hours a week while spending 40 minutes playing with his children.
My investments on this side of eternity are meager, even laughable by many standards. But I am excited to see how my “Eternal Mutual Funds” will have appreciated by the time I reach heaven. The fund manager has promised me that if I lay up treasures in heaven, He will take good care of them for me. There is no risk involved but there is a tremendous payout that will be a blessing to me and to all those my giving was able to touch.
As for Susanna, I think she must have learned something from her Mom’s encouragement that day. Just a few weeks ago a little girl said to Susanna that she wished she was rich so she would have lots of toys. Susanna told her Mom about it later and said she thought about saying to the girl, “The more we have, the more we want.”
That’s a treasure to me.
Prayer: “Lord, thank you that life does not consist of those things we can hold in our hands!
Action: Read “The Treasure Principle” and discuss it with your children.