May 24, 2013 - Radical Hope

When most of us go somewhere we have never been before, we thoroughly research every detail we can get our hands on.

The goal is to be well prepared with no negative surprises. Sometimes our efforts pay off and things go well, but at other times … not so much.

We diligently work our jobs, doing our best to get ahead or make ends meet. Our families are important to us, our health is important to us, and our relationship with God is important to us. So why don’t we put more effort into our future—our eternal future?

According to scripture, we have some choices to make about our final home, far beyond just getting there. For example, do we want to store up our treasures here on earth? We can do that—many people do. Our lives can be filled with all the pleasures we can possibly find, but the time will come when all of that ends.

Our other option, according to Jesus in Matthew chapter 6, is to store up our treasures in Heaven. This is something we have all read before, but have we given it the amount of consideration it is due? This is an eternal question with eternal ramifications.

Is Jesus actually saying that we should give up all we have? Is He really suggesting that we need to forfeit everything we have worked for all of our lives?

No, Jesus is not saying any such thing. In fact, He is saying that He wants us to store up treasures, as much as we can. But He doesn’t want us to store them up here on earth to enjoy for a brief moment—He wants us to store them for our enjoyment for all of eternity.

There is a big difference between a God who wants us to live with nothing as a way of life and a God who wants us to have everything for eternity. So what do we do to ensure that we are on the right track with our financial thinking?

Randy Alcorn in his book, Money, Possessions and Eternity, addresses the proper stewardship of our money, time and talents. Today let’s look at money—next time our talents and time.

Here are some brief guidelines that may prove to be helpful. When spending money, John Wesley suggests we ask ourselves four questions:

  • In spending this money, am I acting as if I owned it, or am I acting as the Lord’s trustee?
  • What scripture requires me to spend this money in this way?
  • Can I offer up this purchase as a sacrifice to the Lord?
  • Will God reward me for this expenditure at the resurrection?

We may also consider asking:

  • Will this further God’s kingdom?
  • Do I already know that this is an inappropriate use of the money God has entrusted to me?

We understand from scripture that God has indeed entrusted money to us that we are to invest for His purposes. The question is—do we take that responsibility to heart? We are expected to. According to 1 Peter 4:5, we will give an account for it one day.

This is not meant to be a depressing concept—instead it is one of the most exciting truths in scripture. Although we know we can’t take it with us—we really can send it ahead. In the process, we help heal disease, ease suffering, minister to the poor and further God’s kingdom. This is His design—and it’s perfect.

Question: Are you wondering what God has for you to do? Do you struggle with this concept?