13 Dec '13
The devil's ponzi scheme
Treasures are powerful magnets that have a tremendous pull on our lives one way or the other. They are never a neutral force. Our use of our treasures and our attitude toward them will either help or hurt our relationship with God. With treasure there is never any neutral ground. This is what Jesus wants us to understand.
Matthew 6:19-21: “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.”
Here is the connection between our hearts and our treasure: Our hearts always follow our treasure! “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Our heart follows our treasure so making sure our treasure is in the right place is foundational for how we relate to God.
Our treasure impacts our relationship with God!
Each of us has two investment strategies we can follow with the stuff God has given us and which strategy we choose will determine how connected we are to our Father.
The first investment strategy is that we can invest in ourselves. The mindset of the person who uses their treasure to invest in themselves, their priorities, and their desires without regard for what God might want with their treasures can be described this way: What I have is mine, life is about me, I am the owner of all that I have, I earned it and the focus of my life is on me.
In verse 19, we see what Jesus has to say about investing in ourselves: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”
Do you see why Jesus says this is a bad idea? It’s the Bernie Madoff thing. You think you can store it up – that it can provide security – that it can deliver on its promises that it will make you happy and satisfied and fulfilled and you find out that is not true and in the end the treasure box is empty because you can’t take it with you.
Actually, thinking that our stuff can buy us happiness is the Devil’s Ultimate Ponzi Scheme: He wants us to think that our stuff will make us happy, that our stuff will buy us security, that life is about us and our pleasure when in truth his promises are empty promises and all of us have learned one way or another that stuff cannot deliver on its promise.
Have you ever wanted something really, really badly? You thought about it, fantasized about it, dreamed about it and finally the day came and you got it. And a couple of years later you asked yourself what the big deal had been?
For years and years I drove beater cars. Every time I got in my car I wondered what it would be like to have a really nice one. Every Sunday I would drool over the new car ads and finally one day I found the car of my dreams, a brand new white Accra with tan leather seats, six speeds (my son says it goes really fast like 120) sport tires and that awesome new car smell. I was in heaven…for a time. Nine years later I am used to it, I like it but it certainly did not deliver on much life satisfaction. It is only a car! You ever had that happen?
The ponzi scheme of the devil is that our stuff will deliver on life satisfaction when in fact, the more we have the more unsatisfying it is because the more evident it is that our stuff is just stuff. And one day like those who invested with Bernie – it is also all gone.
Jesus has an alternate investment strategy. He says we can invest in God’s Kingdom, verse 20. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.” This is actually an amazing statement because Jesus says, you cannot take your stuff with you but you can send it on ahead of you.
Here is the mindset of those who invest in His kingdom. They see all of what they have as His rather than theirs. They see life as about Him, not me. Rather than owners they see themselves as stewards. Rather than I earned it, they know He gave it. Rather than a focus on me, they have a focus on God and His purposes.
Those are very different world views. The first world view says life is about me so that I will accumulate all that I can, spend all that I can and save all that I can. The second world view says that life is about God so that I will give all that I can, share all that I can and invest everything I can in things that will build His kingdom. These world views are 180 degrees from one another.
How is it that we can store up treasures in heaven with our treasures on earth? Think about this: There are only three things that cross the line from time to eternity. Our own spiritual maturity; the lives we have impacted with the love of Jesus; and the financial investments we have made that helped others find Christ or grow in Christ. Nothing else crosses the line from time to eternity.
But, any treasure that I invest in the expansion of God’s kingdom becomes a treasure that I store up in heaven because it resulted in lives changed and people coming to Christ. You cannot take it with you but you can send it ahead of you. The ponzi scheme of Satan cannot deliver and you lose it all in the end. Invest in God’s kingdom and you live with the investment results for all eternity. Which choice are you making with your treasure?
Why does it matter? Because our heart and life focus follow our investments! Verse 21, “For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also. Remember the two life views? Our treasures are either focused on ourselves or on God’s kingdom and our hearts follow the direction in which we invest our treasures: Self or God. Each of us has one treasure but two investment options. Our hearts will follow the investment option we choose.
Jesus wants us to understand that we cannot be focused in both directions! We are either focused on ourselves or on God’s Kingdom. Where we have our treasures is where our focus goes. Our hearts and life focus follow our investments. Jesus wants us to carefully consider which direction our lives are focused: On ourselves or on God!
Treasures are powerful magnets that have a tremendous pull on our lives one way or the other. They are never a neutral force. Our use of our treasures and our attitude toward them will either help or hurt our relationship with God. With treasure there is never any neutral ground.