A really strange thing happened to me a few weeks ago. I was driving and out of nowhere this intense longing for heaven hit me. I’ve never before felt the way I did in that moment. It was almost like feeling homesick, like you’ve been far from your house for a few weeks and you just desperately ache to go home. It was a beautiful sensation that I’ve really made sure to hold onto. It felt important. For me, heaven is a great concept that I love dearly but it’s a tough reality for my human mind to grasp. I know, for a fact, with no doubts, that heaven is real. BUT, I struggle to imagine it and visualize it, so it’s always felt very far off to me. My response to that is just not worrying about it. I trust God, I trust the Bible, and I’m sure heaven is going to blow me away once I get there someday, and so I just don’t really think about it all that much. But that moment in the car from a few weeks ago did something for me that I never thought would happen. It made heaven very real to me in the here and now. It’s kind of a profound thing that I’m still sorting through, but it leads directly into our verses today in the book of Luke.
In Chapter 12 of Luke, Jesus is teaching his disciples about money and possessions. He gives these beautiful examples of how God cares for and sees to the needs of flowers and birds and how much more He can and will care for us. But the verses I want to talk about are when Jesus mentions heaven.
Luke 12:33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.
I’ll say right now, I don’t know exactly what heavenly treasures are. I’ve done some research, but haven’t found any real information that satisfied my curiosity. The great thing is, it doesn’t matter what the treasures actually are. Jesus is telling us all we really need to know about heavenly treasures. They are eternal. They are protected. They are going to be far better than anything we can even imagine. Think about this, if God paves his roads with gold, our most precious resource, then what does he put in the vaults where he stores up treasures? Gold is our definition of treasure. It’s God’s definition of pavement. So I think it’s safe for us to believe with full faith that whatever our treasures in heaven actually are, they’re going to be amazing and so very much worth whatever it takes to gain them.
Of course, we don’t always love to do the things it takes to gain heavenly treasure, do we? Jesus says it right here in verse 33. Sell your stuff and give to those in need. That will store up treasure for you in heaven. Some people get bent out of shape about this verse because they don’t understand the limits to it or the promise of it. They’ll say something like “So God wants me to sell everything I own and live naked in an alleyway?” and that will be an excuse for them to hold tight to their possessions and maintain a hard heart towards God. Truthfully, as much as none of us want to hear this, selling everything but the absolute bare necessities and using the proceeds for the kingdom of God is pretty in line with how Jesus and his direct followers lived their lives. But I’m not even getting into that debate. What I want to look at is a matter of focus.
Luke 12:34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
Jesus is super smart. He knows that the more things we accumulate, the more they take over our lives. We become obsessed with our things, controlled by the desire to get more of them. We worship our things, we spend all of our time on them. Garages full of cars, shelves full of books, entertainment centers full of video games, these are our treasures. And where our treasures are, there our heart is, also. There’s a practical side to this, yes. You don’t need 5 different cars, and I’ll say to anyone’s face in the world that having 5 cars while there are children without any food to eat is WRONG. I don’t need the 800 computer games I have on my computer hard drive. Having those games while there are starving people in the world is wrong. We are selfish and bad with our money, and we’re so defensive and stubborn about it that we can’t even see the truth. “I earned those cars, I worked hard for my money, what I do with my money is between me and God.” You’re right, it is. And in His word, God talks many many times about not storing up wealth and possessions, about the impossibility of serving money and Him, about how if we give to the needy we store up treasure for ourselves in heaven. So yes, there’s a very practical side to this that probably every single one of us could do some deep self-examination about.
But it’s the spiritual side of this that worries me today. I’ve spent too much of my life with my eyes being earthbound. My treasures have always been here, and so also my heart has been here. And Jesus is cautioning so heavily against that. We have to cast our eyes and our desires and our heart onto the eternal. Hunger for heaven more than you hunger for anything on earth. I know of nobody on earth who is so wealthy that they sleep on gold. Yet, if all I end up being is a homeless man on the streets of heaven, my bed will be made of solid gold. The worst fate in heaven is better than the best fate of this world.
That’s it for me this week. I was really challenged by today’s verses and studies, but I think that’s when you really know that you’re growing. I love all of you very much and I hope everyone has a great Friday and a great weekend!
If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org