(This is Pt.1 of the “Rich towards God” series of posts)
True wealth has nothing to do with money. There is a wealth in God’s Kingdom based entirely on principles which are clearly proclaimed in the Word of God.
Jesus often taught by using parables in order to illustrate His point or to make a truth more understandable. This section in Luke records one of those times when a parable brought clarity to a truth. Jesus had spoken in Luke 12:15, saying, “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The parable in 12:16-21 illustrates this teaching. Rather than making abundance of possessions a primary goal, Jesus taught that we are to be in abundance toward God, or what He termed “rich toward God”. And he told them this parable: “This ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy: eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
OUR TRUE TREASURE
We may be rich in influence, prestige, honor, learning or natural abilities. None of these however, expresses the basic thrust of what God counts as richness. What is our richness? Where is our treasure? What do we count as valuable? Jesus makes it very clear, as recorded in this same chapter, that He considers the Kingdom of God to be our treasure. “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink: do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart is also.” (Luke 12:29-34)
This is a treasure which cannot be exhausted. No inflation can eat it up. No one can steal it. It will never wear out or rust. No moth can eat this treasure.
OUR STORED TREASURE
Jesus taught that the riches that matter are those which can be stored up in Heaven. How is this done?
The foundation of everything in God is the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot store up heavenly treasure unless the King of heaven rules and reigns within us. Once that rule is established, we begin to value the truths and the ways of God. We begin to see that our privilege is to seek the Kingdom of God first, above all else that we might desire. When a person truly experiences the Lordship of Jesus Christ, there is nothing more important than pleasing the Father and seeking His Kingdom.
OUR HEART’S TREASURE
Have you ever been working at some task only to find yourself thinking, “My heart is not in this”? What we mean is that we would rather spend our time doing something else that we consider to be more useful or valuable. We mean that there are other things that we treasure much more than the present job. If our treasure is the Kingdom of God, our pleasure will be the will of the Kingdom’s King. Then, whatever the King calls us to do will be fulfilling because it pleases Him. “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”
What have we come to treasure? What do we consider to be valuable? Our answer to these questions will determine the loyalty and devotion of our hearts.
Jesus was teaching the disciples how to live in abundance, how to be “rich toward God.” He was teaching the importance of treasuring the wealth of God’s Kingdom, as opposed to the insignificance of valuing too highly all else that we encounter in our lives.
We will see in upcoming posts what some of the treasures of God’s Kingdom are. We will explore this dimension of wealth, this idea of becoming “rich toward God.”
Bob serves as the lead pastor on Lifegate’s pastoral team and is the primary preaching pastor. He received his BA from Asbury College and MDiv from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.