I had a thought the other day. It was, "What if I only got in Heaven (or for eternal enjoyment) what I freely gave or used in this life on or toward others?" I'm not saying that is theologically correct (or that it isn't), but there is no denying in an honest reading of the New Testament that there is a significant emphasis on investing now for eternity.
God's economy is much different
than ours. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Where we put our treasures not only affects our future life past this earth, but it defines where our heart will be on this earth. Considering God is more concerned about our heart than any outward appearance, this makes where we store up our treasures a weighty issue—a heart defining issue.
In my Bible reading this week I've been struck by the emphasis on this that Jesus makes from different angles in Luke 16. There is the confusing parable of the dishonest manager. Setting aside all the different thoughts on who the people represent, etc., there seems to be a clear rebuke by Jesus in there of "the sons of light." While not saying dishonesty is good, there seems to be in His words a pointing out that the unrighteous are often more careful about securing benefits for their future (albeit worldly future) than the children of the Kingdom of God are about their future (eternal). He also, in the parable of Abraham, the rich man, and the poor man Lazarus in their interaction beyond the grave, says of the rich one who neglected the poor at his door, "Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish" (Luke 16:25).
When Paul writes to the believers in Corinth he reminds them, ". . . For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). When we combine verses like these, with the multitude of other similar verses, it would seem that followers of Jesus are faced with two very different paths. We can invest in our now, and receive our reward in this life, or we can invest in eternity, and enjoy our reward for eternity. When we realize this economy, it is no wonder that Jim Elliot, a missionary killed in the 1950s in Ecuador, wrote in his
journal this now famous quote, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot
keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
What are we investing in. Do the words of J.C. Ryle, about the parable of the dishonest manager, apply to us? These words are, "The diligence of worldly men about the things of time, should put to shame the coldness of professing Christians about the things of eternity. The zeal and pertinacity of men of business in compassing sea and land to get earthly treasures, may well reprove the slackness and indolence of believers about treasures in heaven."
It is a question worth asking. When we face that moment when we cross the line, and if we are able to see our life and priorities and "treasures" in perspective, will we be pleased with the choices we made, or will we wish we could do it over? If you could write your obituary, what would you want it to say? And what are you and I doing to bring that to pass?