In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus Christ said that we should not lay up treasure on earth. Why not? Because “moths and rust destroys” earthly treasure and because “thieves break in and steal” it.
I’ve been a bit of a gold bug going back to the mid 80s, when I was in my early 30s. Over the years Sharon and I have bought some gold as insurance for our retirement. That is all well and good. But where do you put it? The problem is that gold coins can easily be stolen. Or they can burn up in a fire.
We decided on a safe deposit box at the bank. Even that isn’t guaranteed. The bank could have a fire or a theft.
The Lord wasn’t saying we should not have savings. Scripture is clear that we should. See Prov 6:6-10 as an example.
What He was saying is that our “treasure,” that which we value in life, should not be on earth. What we truly value should be stored in heaven for later use on the Millennial and new earth.
Eternal treasure is secure. Moths and rust can’t destroy it. No one can steal it.
In my book The Road to Reward, I suggest that there are two types of eternal rewards: instant winners and perseverance prizes. Instant winners are good works we do with the right motives. The moment we do anything that pleases God, treasure is stored up for us in the third heaven. While we can’t be sure what these instant winners will be, I think that “treasure” will be treasure. That is, I imagine that there will be an eternal economy and we will use our treasure to glorify God.
Zane Hodges and I discussed my view. And he rejected it. He thought that the treasure the Lord spoke of in Matt 6:19-21 will be a heightened capacity to glorify God and thereby greater fullness of life in the life to come.
Whether the treasure is material or immaterial in nature, the point is the same. God rewards faithfulness. He not only rewards us in this life, but He promises to reward us in the life to come for what we did in this life.
Perseverance prizes are not secure until and unless we persevere. Hence we cannot be sure we will reign with Christ because we cannot be sure we will persevere. Compare 1 Cor 9:27 and 2 Tim 2:12. It was only at the very end of his life that Paul knew he would persevere to the end and would rule with Christ (2 Tim 4:6-8). I believe that certainty he gained by special revelation. Remember that in 1 Cor 9:27 he confessed that he did not know if he would persevere or not.
I’m glad I don’t need a spiritual safety deposit box here on earth. I’m glad that no one can steal rewards that I’ve laid up in heaven. Heaven itself is one giant safety deposit box!
Sadly, however, most born-again people are totally unaware that there will eternal rewards.
Worse yet, many born-again people are doing what the Lord said they should not do, that is, they are indeed laying up treasure on earth. Their aim in life is to enjoy the best houses, clothes, foods, vacations, cars, cruises and so on. While there is nothing wrong with any of those things in moderation, they must never be our main focus in life. Our main focus must be on what is eternally important: pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ. We must long to hear Him say, “Well done, good servant” (Luke 19:17).
I confess that I have occasional concerns about whether we’ll have enough money for me to be able to take care of Sharon twenty or thirty years from now. We are doing well financially. Don’t send in extra money on account of us. But my point is that I’ve long been concerned about personal and national and international finances. I’ve long worried about hyperinflation taking place. That is the big thief. It hasn’t happened here—yet. It may not happen here in the U.S. before the Lord returns. But whether it does hit or not, I know that there is no inflation to hurt our eternal rewards. Those are secure. Rust won’t get them. Moths won’t eat them up. The tax man can’t touch them. Thieves can’t either.
Remember, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The Lord commands us to set our heart on eternal treasure. Free Grace Theology allows us to do that since it separates the free gift of everlasting life from the costliness of eternal rewards.
Thank you, Lord, for the free gift of everlasting life and for guaranteeing to reward us forever for that which we do in this life which is pleasing to You. We love You, Lord Jesus.