Treasure in Heaven

In my sermon on Sunday, I referenced Jesus’ teaching not to, “lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:19-20).

I talked about the fruitlessness of making earthly possessions more than they ought to be because at best they provide temporary happiness. These things eventually fade and decay. But, what does it mean to lay up instead “treasure in heaven”?

Some have interpreted this verse to mean that when we do “good deeds” on earth, we rack up some kind of eternal possessions that we will get “one day” when we go to heaven. That is one way of looking at the verse, but I want to suggest another. Throughout the gospels, Jesus speaks of the “kingdom of heaven” as a present in-breaking reality, not just as an ethereal future dwelling. When Jesus says, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2, 4:17 & Mark 1:15) or that “the kingdom of God has come near” (Luke 4:43), he’s declaring that God’s kingdom has just arrived. It may not be fully manifested yet, but when Jesus arrived, God’s kingdom began to reign on earth.

So heavenly treasures may not simply be a future reality either, but a present one. Jesus is not merely calling us to do good deeds as a means to a somewhat self-serving end (future rewards), but to invest in eternal things: namely God himself and in the souls of others. Jesus is calling us to make God and others the things that we treasure.

Is there no future reward then? I think there is. I can think of no better reward for faithfully loving those around us than to see the faces of those we’ve invested in join us in the fullness of God’s kingdom when Christ returns.

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

From an Unknown African Christian:
O God, enlarge my heart that it may be big enough to receive the greatness of your love.
Stretch my heart that it may take into it all those who with me around the world believe in Jesus Christ.
Stretch it that it may take into it all those who do not know him, but who are my responsibility because I know him.
And stretch it that it may take in all those who are not lovely in my eyes, and whose hands I do not want to touch;
through Jesus Christ, my Savior.
Amen.

Sean's Picks

Growing My Faith in the Face of Death by Tim Keller
In this article, Tim Keller shares the way he has wrestled with his faith and yet how his faith has grown as he has reckoned with his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Tim's pastoral heart never fails to prick the deep places of my soul. May his humility, honesty, and wisdom move you to deeper trust in God in the face of your own suffering. 

Missions Spotlight:
Erica Blickens (Africa for Christ)

- As always, THANK YOU for your continued prayers and support!!  May God be glorified in and through your life today!!
- South Africa's covid restrictions continue to lessen, and the border between South Africa and Mozambique is now open, with covid tests required for each passage.  I still have not received my South African visa renewal, and I cannot leave South Africa until it comes through, so at this point, it looks like Wynand (overseer of the Chicorroa base) will go into Mozambique without me sometime in the second week of March.
- Our missionaries who are currently in South Africa (Wynand, Kobus & Mandy, and myself) were able to spend 3 days at a nearby retreat center the last week of February.  It was a special time in the presence of God and has renewed and refreshed us for the coming season.  There are still many logistical and practical uncertainties, but we have been reminded again to REST in the completed work of Christ and His unfolding plan.
- Our Missions Training School is scheduled to begin on March 10, barring any new restrictions put in place by Mozambique's President.  He is supposed to speak again on/about March 4, which will confirm whether we can move forward with that starting date or not.
- The cyclone season seems to be settling down somewhat.  We had a Cyclone (Guambe) which was on track to make landfall directly in the area of our Chicorroa base, but in God's graciousness and mercy, it changed course and headed back out to sea, never making landfall at all!
- The unrest in northeast Mozambique continues.  The house of Andre and Anna-Marie, missionary friends with whom we stayed on our trip to the Cabo Delgado Province in 2018, was burned to the ground by insurgents just last week and several people in their town were killed.  They were in South Africa at the time, so they are unharmed, but they currently have no place which to return.  Please pray for them for wisdom and for other missionaries who still choose to remain in the affected areas, as well as for the locals whose homes and families are constantly at risk if they choose to stay...or who lose possessions, homes, and lands if they decide to leave.
- "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in Him.''' - Lamentations 3:21-24

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