Perspectives on Stewardship

Where is your Treasure?

Posted by Kent Anderson on

Where is your Treasure?

As a church we recently enjoyed Chip Ingram as our guest speaker. Chip is not a stranger to First Baptist Naples. He has spoken here on many occasions, but his most recent message was perhaps one of his most compelling and seemed to strike a chord in many of us. It was both heartwarming and challenging. He shared the joy of being generous, but also the challenge he went through to become more generous - a challenge that most of us can identify with when we consider being generous.

Deep down, most of us want to give to those in need - most of us have a soft-spot in our heart - something that touches us, that warms our heart. Yet too often, even when that soft-spot is touched, we often withhold, instead protecting our financial status and
financial wellbeing.

I hope most of you were able to pick up a copy of Chip’s small book “The Genius of Generosity” that he “generously” provided for free. I hope you take the time to read it. Not too far into the book, he references Christ’s famous Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 where Christ discusses laying up for ourselves treasure in heaven rather than focusing on treasure on earth.

Sounds good - but how do we “lay up treasure in heaven”? Chip provides a clear and easy to understand, three-step description on how to “lay up treasure in heaven”:

1) By giving to the work of the Gospel of Christ (through our church as an example) - helping God’s Word to go out - to bring people to Christ, that they might live eternally with God - thereby becoming true eternal treasure.
2) Jesus promised that every act of kindness - even giving someone a cup of water in His name will receive a reward. In Matthew 25, Christ tells us that when we give to the “least “ of these, you did it to me, and you will receive a reward in heaven. Again, eternal treasure.
3) Similarly, when we give to the poor, we are literally giving to the Lord. Again, He will repay us in eternity. Hebrews 13 tells us “this is pleasing to God.”

Chip goes on to say “Money is the mirror of our heart before God. If you want an accurate picture of your relationship with God, take a look at your checkbook and credit card statements. Notice where your money is going. That will tell you what you’re devoted to.”

As Christ tells us in Matthew 6 “No one can serve two masters - for either he will hate one and love the other, or will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Chip goes on to tell us that “Wealth is not neutral. It is powerful and deceptive...It can deceive even the most sincere Christ-follower. Wealth is seen as the ticket to significance and prestige...It cultivates an ego-driven need to compare oneself to others. The game never ends and enough is never enough.”

In Luke 12: 15 Jesus cautions us “Beware and be on guard against every form of greed, for life does not consist of an abundance of possessions.” He then tells of a rich man who had laid up many goods for many years and said to himself “I will take ease, eat, drink and be merry.” God responds “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you. So is the man (a fool) who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Later in the chapter, Jesus tells us that “Where our treasure is, there your heart will also be.”

Powerful stuff! So, which is it for me? For you? God or wealth? Scripture makes it clear that we cannot love or live for or serve both. Each of us must decide for ourselves. Paul tells us in II Corinthians 9, “Each of us must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly, or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

But, this begs the question: what have I “purposed in my heart”? Where is my heart? Where is your heart? What does my checkbook tell me? It is something deserving of earnest prayer on the part of each of us - for it has eternal consequences.

More to come...

Do you have questions about managing your finances from a Biblical perspective?

For help and guidance feel free to call Kent Anderson at
(239)596-8600 x254.

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