What Currency is Our Treasures in Heaven?

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I was probably in the 6th – 8th grade when the visiting preacher came to our home town.

I sat mesmerized as the preacher grabbed a spoon.  You see, growing up in the Churches of Christ we didn’t get a lot of illustrations.  A good sermon would contain 150 different Bible verses.  Occasionally there would be a story or illustration.  But, this was unheard of – a preacher holding a spoon.

The preacher opened his Bible, and in a slow, Southern drawl read these words:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV)

We young people just looked at each other because we had no idea what he had just read.  We Canadian boys and girls weren’t used to that thick Texas accent.  We wondered if he had a cold or if he was just chewing a really big piece of gum.  Somehow the words were not formulating in a way that made any sense to us.

And then he captivated the audience by holding up the spoon.

He took the spoon and said – when you give to God (he motioned like he was using the spoon to scoop sugar out of a bowl) then God will give to you.  He then reached into a side pocket and there appeared a bigger spoon.  He acted like he was taking something from God’s bowl and putting it on our bowl.  Give God a teaspoon, and he’ll give you a tablespoon.

On that day, my theology of giving was developed.  On that day, I believe now my theology of giving was also contaminated.

On and on the sermon went with the preacher getting progressively larger spoons, scoops, and even shovels.  Each time you give to God, God goes and gives you even more.

The moral of the lesson is that when you give to God, you can expect to get from God.

This, I now believe, is only partially true.

When you give, you will receive.  But I believe the Bible does not guarantee that you will receive a return of the same currency.  In fact, I tend to think the nature of the reward will be very different from the nature of the gift.

“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. (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

From those early illustrations I thought that if someone gives God $10 then God will give him $20.  But that simply is not the case.

When you give, you will get something back, but it won’t be in the same currency.

You might give a United States Dollar, but you’ll get a spiritual blessing, an eternal reward, a heart full of satisfaction, emotional peace, or joy.

Paul was right when he wrote:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV)

Through your generosity God might recognize that you have the right heart to administer His funds, and he may give you more money.  But, that is completely up to God.  I’m guessing if you give money in order to get more money, then your heart isn’t the kind that God will willingly use as his steward.

I’ve got a book on my shelf called The Laws of Prosperity.  To be completely honest, I have not read the whole book.  I have trouble trying to read the book because the word “laws” turns me off.  It seems to indicate to me a guaranteed equal reciprocity.

The author writes:

There are certain laws governing prosperity revealed in God’s Word.  Faith causes them to function.  They will work when they are put to work, and they will stop working when the force of faith is stopped.

I’d call this a very human centered approach to the one called “I AM WHO I AM” or “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE”.  We cannot unlock the key to prosperity by the currency of faith.

Need more money?  Some might say to get more faith.

You give me $100 and God will give you $150.  You give me $1,000 and God will give you $1,500.

Instead, I think that when we give we store up our treasures in heaven.  I don’t think that means we’ve got money waiting for us in heaven.  Honestly, I can’t get my mind around what those treasure are.  All I know is that when we give here we store up there, and my guess is that heaven’s currency is a lot more valuable than whatever we peddle around here on earth.

Comments

  1. says

    This was a great post – I’ve never heard anyone talk about a ‘different currency’ with regards to the blessings of God. How simple minded we are to think that when we give, the blessings God will provide are based on earthly money!!

    God’s Kingdom will never pass away – so I’d much rather have my treasures/blessing stored there and not here on earth!

  2. Eric says

    2 Corinthians 9:7 – Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (KJV)

    Giving with the expectation that God will give right back to us seems to go against the cheerful act of giving. God blesses us so that we might be a blessing to others – continuing on in 2 Corinthians 9:8 – “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

    God has blessed us to enable us to do good works so that people might praise our Heavenly Father – Mattthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

  3. says

    Great post Craig. I too am turned off by the theology of giving in order to get, especially when we are told we will profit monetarily.

    Although I realize that those who give generously reap generously, I think of the reaping as a side benefit – not a motivator. Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply give for the joy of giving…no strings attached and no expectations of recompense?

    • says

      @Joe
      I go back and forth as the reward as motive idea. At times it turns me off, but then it seems to have certain elements of truth. One thing for sure, the reward has nothing to do with anything to do with money.
      As a person who believes giving is a spiritual discipline I tent to agree that giving for joy is the deepest form of giving.

  4. Mark says

    Excellent post, Craig! If you get a chance, read “Money, Possessions, and Eternity” by Randy Alcorn. This is a hefty book. If you want the condensed version, it’s summarized in another book he wrote, called “The Treasure Principle.” That’s his message – we are building up treasures in Heaven by giving here. God can choose to bless us monetarily when we give, but our expectations should be spiritual – giving for God’s glory and looking toward the eternal, rather than the temporal.
    Also, the idea of giving in order to receive monetarily is an American concept, I believe. I can’t see believers in a third world nation who are suffering for their faith buying into that concept.
    Keep up the great work!

    • says

      @Mark
      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Randy Alcorn, but I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read anything he has written. I’ll put one of those books on my to read list.

  5. Chris says

    Craig,

    Very new to your site and I’m reading your posts to see if this is a site I will continue to follow. So far you’ve had some very good things to say. However, after reading this post, I wanted to know what your opinion or interpretation of Gal. 6:7 is in light of this post. Gal. 6:7, in context, is definitely talking about sowing financially, and verse 7 states, “…whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” “That” being the important word for this question. I take this at face value. Meaning, if I sow financially, I will reap financially. From your post you seem not to take this at face value. Thank you for your input.

    • says

      Chris,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Basically I don’t see anything contextually that indicates Paul is having a discussion about finances. He seems, in my opinion, to be talking about morality. Thus, I would say people who do good will reap good. The good is general not specific. If I help someone change a tire I don’t think this means God is promising me that someone will change my tire. I believe it means I’ll enjoy a reward (in this life or the one to come) for that action.

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