Even though it’s a very important biblical concept, I don’t often talk about the importance of building up treasures in heaven.
Honestly, it’s a topic I don’t really know how to properly address in a way that honors God and promotes generous giving. For lack of a better word, it just seems off to make your primary reason to give because of what you’ll get.
However, as Christians what we will receive is often a motivation for our conduct. Paul says that he lives his life pursuing a goal so that he might be called heavenward. Thus, Paul’s goal is to go to heaven.
That could be considered very selfish.
But, it’s more of a mark that he is made in the image of God. God has instilled desires in us. Augustine said that we will not rest unless we rest in Him. There is a godly longing to be reunited with our Maker. Though it may be a selfish desire, it is a God ordained selfishness.
Giving to build up our treasures in heaven can also be a God ordained selfishness. However, it can also come from our own selfish desires.
It is a fine line to walk.
Still, we must clearly affirm what the Bible so clearly teaches – how we give impacts our treasures in heaven.
Most straight and narrow Evangelicals don’t much like the idea of rewards. I know that because the NIV goes the extra mile to avoid the word “works” (often substituting “deeds” instead).
Yet, there is clearly a God ordained reward system in this world. Just like there is a moral punishment system where bad people ultimately get what they deserve, there is a cosmic reward system instituted by God.
This is not a system whereby one earns salvation, we all know that is not something that is earned. Yet, there seem to be elements in the life of the sanctified that are rewarded based on conduct.
In the discussion of treasures in heaven, the focus is to remind us of the importance of differentiating between the eternal and temporal. You don’t need me to remind you that you’ll never see a Hirsch with a trailer.
Building up treasures in heaven for generosity on earth is God’s ‘pay it forward’ system.
In Matthew 6:20, Jesus encourages us to “store up treasures in heaven”. Then, in Matthew 19:21, he specifically encourages a young man to sell what he has and give to the poor because through that action he will “have treasure in heaven”. Timothy echoes the sentiment in 1 Tim 6:18-19 when he encourages Christians towards generosity because, “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life”.
Something (I’m not sure what) is stored up in heaven for the righteous who are generous.
What’s the Treasure in Heaven?
I’m quite convinced that it’s not going to be gold nuggets since I believe the treasure will be a different currency than what we give.
However, beyond that, all that is left is supposition.
Are there to be different rewards in heaven?
- Will your heavenly mansion have air conditioning and mine only windows because you laid up more treasures in heaven?
- Will you have preferential treatment at Heaven’s Wal-Mart because you stored up more?
Most of those questions are beyond the scope of my understanding. However, here’s what we can know:
- Generous giving is a good thing.
- God intends to reward our goodness (or his goodness in us).
- True disciples ensure they are investing as much in the life to come as the life we currently live.
Do you know what the treasure in heaven is, because I’d love to know? What resources can you recommend to help me (and others) figure out what the reward is?