In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus gives two commands that you must follow if you want to live a life that counts.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Randy Alcorn wrote a little book entitled, The Treasure Principle. It is based on Matthew 6:19-20. What is the treasure principle? Here it is: You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. You have probably heard it said before that you will never see a trailer hitch on a hearse. What does that mean? It means that you come into this world with nothing, and when you leave, you take nothing with you. But here is where the treasure principle becomes so important: No, you can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. You can invest in heaven now. You can store up for yourselves treasures in heaven that will last forever. You can live your life from this day forward serving Christ and knowing that when you die, you will have treasures in heaven waiting for you.
I was in the investment business for 20 years. I learned a lot about all kinds of different investments: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, oil and gas tax shelters and real estate partnerships. Do you know what I learned? I learned that you could lose a lot quickly. I learned that none of these investment vehicles are guaranteed. They are all temporary and carry some degree of risk. In 1999, I retired from the investment firm that I was working for, and entered a wonderful seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. When I graduated in 2003, I started a men’s ministry in Raleigh called Finding Purpose. I began to, if you will pardon the expression, sell an investment vehicle that guarantees and offers eternal benefits. The investment vehicle that I now offer to men in Raleigh is a relationship with Jesus Christ. In this relationship, He promises eternal life. He gives you the opportunity to invest the rest of your life serving Him – building up treasures (investments) in Heaven. This is what Christianity is all about.
Do you know what led to my career change? Here’s my brief story. I became a Christian when I was about 10 years old. My mother, a follower of Jesus, led me to her Savior. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was a young boy. I began to read the Bible and I prayed almost every day during my early teenage years and developed a close relationship with Jesus. Then I went off to college and I put my relationship with God on the back burner. I joined a fraternity and began to live a very sinful, self-centered life. After college, at the age of 22, I began my career in the financial industry. I got married to a wonderful Christian woman, Creecy. We proceeded to have two boys who are now married and both of them know the Lord. But in my career, I was living for myself. The focus of my heart was on my success. It was all about climbing the corporate ladder and experiencing worldly success. I did both.
But a great thing happened in my life in 1981. I began to attend a men’s Bible study, Bible Study Fellowship. I was involved in that study for the next twenty years. It was the study of God’s Word that began to change my heart and refocus the desires of my heart. In the early 90s I went on two overseas mission trips, and I saw God working in other parts of the world. I began to look at what I was doing with my life, and I saw that my focus was primarily on temporary things.
I wanted to do something with my life that would please God.
Thus, I began to ask God to call me into ministry. I also read a book by Elizabeth Elliott that God used to grip my heart entitled Through Gates of Splendor. The book is about the life of her husband, Jim Elliott. Jim Elliott was a missionary who was speared to death in 1956 when he and four other men attempted to take the gospel to a stone-age tribe in South America, known as the Aucas. Jim was 29 years old when he was martyred. He kept a journal and one of his journal entries really challenged me. Here is what he wrote: He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
This, in essence, is what the Treasure Principle is all about. You can’t keep your life. You can’t hold onto your possessions. But you can begin to build up for yourselves treasures in heaven by first giving your life to God, and then, by giving Him control over everything you have. I believe in doing so, you will be living your life according to the Treasure Principle.
Missionary C.T. Studd said, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
We are only given one life and what we do with this life will determine our reward in heaven. You only have one life to live! Don’t waste it!