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“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 6:19–211
God only knows why He put so many of this world’s most precious commodities in such hard-to-get-at places. If it was to test our wills—to see to what lengths we would be willing to go and what price we would be willing to pay to get to them—it worked.
Whether probing for oil beneath the deserts of the Middle East or within the Arctic Circle, or plunging into the subterranean dark and cold to mine for gold, diamonds, and other precious metals and gems, the most determined of us brave some of the world’s harshest conditions and risk life and limb to get to the source and strike it rich.
But even for the fortunate few who succeed, is it really worth it? How long will their riches last, and how much real happiness will they find in the meantime? When you stop to think about it, their triumphs are really tragedies if that’s all they’re left with.
Isn’t it wonderful, though, that God put the very most valuable thing in life—the one thing that can truly satisfy and last for eternity—within reach of everyone? I’m referring to His love, of course. “God is love,” the Bible tells us.2 He is love itself—the wellspring from which love in all of its other wonderful forms flows. Why waste time looking elsewhere when you can go straight to the source and find all the love you ever dreamed of and more? There are oceans of God’s love waiting for you, only a prayer away.—Keith Phillips
The riches of His goodness
Christians have so many true riches to enjoy that it is sad when many try hard to accumulate the uncertain riches of this world. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” said Jesus.3
For example, Paul speaks of “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering,”4 which have led Him to provide our eternal salvation. For those who have been saved, he writes of “the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.”5 Then, in contemplating the great plan of God for both Jews and Gentiles, he exclaimed, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”6 In Him, in fact, are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”7
When he wrote to the Ephesian Christians, Paul reminded them that Christ had redeemed them through His blood and forgiven their sins “according to the riches of his grace,” in hope that they would understand “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” He told them that “God, who is rich in mercy,” had saved them so “that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”8
Finally, summarizing all these true riches—mercy, glory, grace, goodness, wisdom, knowledge—Paul spoke of “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”9 “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”10—Henry M. Morris
Investment in eternity
In Luke 16:13, Jesus makes it clear that we can’t serve both God and mammon at the same time. He says, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other.” But when we back up to verse 9, Jesus says something very important: “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” In other words, we should use our earthly possessions to benefit others, so that when we die and leave our possessions behind, we’ll be welcomed into heaven by those we helped.
We’re instructed to use our money for that which is eternal. And what in our lives is eternal? People! The only lasting things we encounter each day are people. The human soul is eternal. …
[I]t’s not how much we have that matters—it’s whose it is. All the money we have is His, not ours. Jesus tells me I need to be faithful with what is someone else’s, because “if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”11 When we obey Jesus’ words in Luke 16, we are proving to God that we can be trusted with more, and even more importantly, we are truly putting our treasures in heaven.—Robert Morris
To know God through Christ and His redeeming work is to be rich indeed.
The Scriptures have much to say about the infinite riches of God. They tell us of “the riches of His glory,”12 “the riches of His wisdom and knowledge,”13 “the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering,”14 and “the riches of His grace.”15 God would have us enjoy these riches through faith in Christ, who died for our sins.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.”16
We should rejoice continually that God, in addition to being rich in wisdom and knowledge and in glory and power, is also “rich in mercy”17 and that “the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”18
To St. Paul, the chief of sinners, saved by grace, God revealed the greatest riches of all. Paul said: “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ.”19 These riches include, among other things, “all the riches of the full assurance of understanding.”20 How wonderful to have an intelligent understanding of God’s plan of salvation and of all He has purposed in His heart of love for those who accept the salvation He has provided through His beloved Son!
True riches are not comprised of material things. The Scripture calls these “uncertain riches” and warns us not to trust in them.21 True riches is “to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” and so to be “filled with all the fulness of God.”22—Cornelius R. Stam
Published on Anchor September 2018. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by John Listen.
2 1 John 4:8.
3 Matthew 6:19.
4 Romans 2:4.
5 Romans 9:23.
6 Romans 11:33.
7 Colossians 2:3.
8 Ephesians 1:7, 18; 2:4, 7.
9 Ephesians 3:8.
10 1 Corinthians 2:9.
11 Luke 16:12.
12 Romans 9:23; Ephesians 3:16.
13 Romans 11:33.
14 Romans 2:4.
15 Ephesians 1:7; 2:7.
16 2 Corinthians 8:9.
17 Ephesians 2:4.
18 Romans 10:12–13.
19 Ephesians 3:8.
20 Colossians 2:2.
21 I Timothy 6:17.
22 Ephesians 3:19.
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