Points to Ponder: What is the "Treasure in Heaven"?
Points to Ponder
What is the "Treasure in Heaven"?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches on long-term investing, a sort of IRA (Individual Retirement Account).
"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" (Matthew 6:19-20).
What is this treasure in heaven?
One of my mentors, a pastor and teacher for many years, told me that the rewards for how a Christian has lived on earth continue to accumulate even after we die. Yes, there is compound interest in our heavenly bank account. How so? In his book, From this Verse, Pastor Robert Morgan shares an interesting account that brought this question to my mind.
While disembarking a train one day, a porter engaged in conversation with a businessman well known for his Christian walk. He apparently questioned his own walk with Christ. By his own estimation, he didn't live up to his potential.
He and his brother were raised by a hardworking mother who had wanted the best for her boys. This porter had been a good student and was on his way to fulfilling the wish of his mom and the calling of his life: to be a preacher of the gospel. His younger brother had gone down the prodigal path, nearly killing himself with wild living. At about the time this man was accepted for college, his younger brother was converted. The young man had nothing but a desire to serve the Lord. So the older brother gave up his plans for college and seminary and paid for his brother's education. The young man went on to become a prominent radio preacher; the older brother, a porter for the railroad. Thousands have come to Christ under that younger brother's ministry. Now as a much older man, the porter knew his time had passed; he could never be a preacher himself. So he asked the businessman, "...do you suppose the Lord will give me credit for the souls my brother led to Him?" That's a good, introspective kind of question.
Here's an additional thought to add: can any of us do anything for the Lord all by ourselves? If you are a believer in Christ, you have a story. And when you reflect upon it, each chapter consists of names and faces. Some were just faces. I can think of countless individuals whose names I never knew, yet encountering them had a profound impact. Sometimes the full effect of their influence was delayed. Only in retrospect did I realize the value of their contribution to my life. And how could they have known?
Likewise, how do you know what kind of impact your seemingly ordinary life is having on others? There are people whose bodies are lying in their graves and yet their lives continue to influence and thereby continue to live. Their rewards are compounding. The treasure in heaven grows because of how they invested their lives, resources, and talents on earth.
When Marcella and I attended Parkside Church in Baltimore, it was John and Betty Nichols who were greeters at the door. That first day in church, they made us welcome and adopted us. John and I eventually began having breakfast together every Saturday before he went to work. He sold grave plots at Woodlawn Cemetery. His motto, he would say with a grin, was, "I can put you away nice." John seemed to be an ordinary guy, with a wife and two young adult children. He had a job, came to church, and lived an average life it seemed.
When he died suddenly of a heart attack, I was a pallbearer at his funeral. I was amazed to see the extraordinary influence this "ordinary" man had. The procession of cars stretched for a mile. At the grave site, I observed countless numbers of teens and young adults crying. Who were all these people? They were souls John had influenced and some of us had no idea how much. He left behind quite an investment portfolio of people. And up above, his investment is compounding. In God's kingdom, the saying is surely true: "Little things mean a lot." You don't know just how much. Is there anything insignificant in the eyes of the One who knows the number of the hairs on your head? (Matthew 10:30)
Every sacrifice is known to Him who owns it all. And small kindnesses can make a big and lasting impact.
"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:4 am and 7:4 pm.