Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
While I enjoy helping young people, couples and older adults with financial and investment needs, I sometimes fear many are more interested in the accumulation of wealth for some type of future pleasure or life of ease that could vaporize in a moment. Death often comes quickly. All the wealth and things are no longer useful for the one who accumulated them. That is a tragedy. It is a missed opportunity.
The wise king Solomon, writing in Ecclesiastes said, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.” Eccl. 2:24-26 ESV Don’t miss the “apart from Him.” You cannot and will not find true enjoyment apart from God.
But the Bible doesn’t end there when it comes to wealth and treasures. Jesus said something that is as true today as it was 2,000 years ago. “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.” (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV) It is sensible to ask the question, “so what treasure should I store in heaven?” Said another way, what brings joy in the courts of heaven?
Jesus said, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7) More joy in heaven when one sinner repents. Repenting, by definition, declares that the one repenting sees the wrong they have done. This includes repenting of the sins of materialism (worshipping things), pleasure (worshipping activities) and selfishness (worshipping me.) The real problem is we cannot do this. We love the wrong gods. We don’t love God, nor do we obey him. This is a most desperate situation.
God knew we would reject him and choose other gods. But he had a plan before creation. In the New Testament book of Acts, Paul recounts the history of Israel and their release from captivity. He tells them Jesus was the one God had promised. He calls Jesus the Savior God delivered as he had promised. Why is this so very important? Because you and I cannot keep the law. We cannot please God, try as we might. Solomon was right. Apart from God we are doomed to failure. So the good news is that I don’t have to get right to be right with God. God’s provision for forgiveness is the answer.
“For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:36-39 ESV)
I was by human standards, a “good boy” growing up in Naperville Illinois. I was born as the first son to Clyde and Shirley Winquist on February 9, 1951. My earliest recollections of God or church were the result of attending the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Naperville, Illinois. I was baptized as an infant and can recall being in church with my parents from the earliest days of my life. Aside from hearing stories and singing songs, I don’t recall ever hearing that I was a sinner or that I was lost, dead in my sins or alienated from God. I knew there was a God. I believed He made everything, but that was about the extent of my biblical knowledge. My inherited belief was that everyone was God’s child and assumed all good people were admitted to heaven. I was wrong.
When I was nine years old my parents made an abrupt change in our Sunday morning pattern. We stopped attending the EUB church and started attending the Bible Baptist Church. The church met in the Highlands Elementary school gymnasium for both Sunday School and worship. The teaching came from the Word of God. Pastor Ed McKinney introduced us to the One the Bible declares is the Savior. My Sunday School teacher, Keith Martin, faithfully taught us from the scriptures. Mr. Martin explained the true nature of man (and of young, suburban boys) – that we were sinners and that death was the wage we were earning as a result. By December of 1960 I realized that I was a rebellious sinner and that God had sacrificed his Son to pay the total price for my rebellion. I confessed Jesus was Lord and accepted God’s gift of salvation as a gift. There was rejoicing in heaven. Now I want to store my treasures there.