How do I “store up treasure in heaven”?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures upon earth...But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matt 6:19-20)
Much of this chapter has been quite philosophical and room remains for a few “down to earth” applications. First, you must begin to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:1) The follower of Christ must first change the way he views the world, his money, his work, and his Lord:
“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:27-29)
Our minds, patterns, and processes must be transformed to account for eternity. Believe in Christ and believe in His words throughout the Bible. Then, you are ready to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (Matt 6:20)
How do Christians invest in heaven? Much is said in the Bible of non-monetary things with heavenly rewards (good works for example, Eph. 6:8), but our purposes revolve only around the financial. Perhaps a better question would be: How do Christians invest in heaven financially? In a word, giving. A believer must begin to invest his money in more than himself. Many of the commands Jesus issued that were to be motivated by heavenly reward had to do with giving: “Sell your possessions and give to charity,” (Luke 12:33) “Go and sell your possessions and give to the poor,” (Matt. 19:21) “Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink,” (Mark 9:41) and “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” (Luke 14:13) A follower of Christ who chooses to give money to the needy and the work of the Lord has a far greater return awaiting his soul than any portfolio, property, or business venture could offer.
Ultimately, our decisions should filter through the following paradigm: Does this action, activity, or cause have eternal significance? For example, would dollars going to save the rainforest or send missionaries to Africa have more “eternal” return on investment? This is not to say it is wrong to give to non-eternal or non-Christian organizations; however, the primary concern of where a believer chooses to invest all the resources of his life, including his money, should be areas of eternal impact. A Christian who invests in heaven understands the famous statement of missionary Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
There is one important clarification to mention before wrapping things up. A prudent and Biblically astute Christian recognizes that the message of this chapter pertains to sanctification not salvation. We do not purchase our way into heaven. Followers of Christ simply begin to emulate His life patterns of grace, eternity, and generosity as they are transformed by the Spirit.