I was scrolling through social media recently and came across a post that stated the only things you can bring with you to heaven are souls. Let me be clear, I am not in any way stating I can save a single soul. I couldn’t even save my own! But there was something in that post that resonated with me, and so here I am dedicating a blog to it.
In this world, we need money to purchase the necessities and luxuries of life. Finances affect everyone. Given everything we’ve gone through over the past few years, and the continuing instability of our economy, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been looking over my income and expenses more carefully.
If we’re a parent, we want to be able to provide for our kids when they’re younger and be able to leave something behind for them in the future. Some of us may equate our worth based on the number of dollars in our bank accounts, or the cars and homes we own. Madonna wasn’t wrong when she said we are living in a material world.
But I’ve never considered myself a material girl. In my teen years I thought about labels and designer clothes, but once I was the one purchasing those items, my tastes became far more practical.
In my lifetime, I’ve lived paycheck-to-paycheck. I’ve also had seasons where I was able to have savings and be more generous with my money. Yet when I saw that post, I was reminded that in the end, you really can’t take any of it with you.
Sure, we’ve heard about Egyptian kings and other very wealthy people who were buried with their fortunes. But they didn’t really take it with them, did they? Their souls went somewhere while their riches laid dormant in the grave.
What comes with us in the end?
Not to be graphic, but after we’ve passed, our bodies are either buried or cremated. There is, however, a part that does live on. Our souls are eternal. This spirit is what crosses from this world into the next.
Eternity is a mighty long time.
As a Christian, I believe our ability to enter heaven is only possible by believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He is the Son of God who came to save us. He was crucified, died, and was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day.
I know He sits at the right hand of God and is in constant intercession for us. Jesus’s sacrifice gives me, and anyone who believes in Him, access to an eternity in God’s presence.
If we choose to deny Him, our spirit will be sent somewhere else. I can’t explain to you exactly what hell will be like. I pray you and I never find out. But what am I certain of, is that God is not there. I don’t need to imagine lakes of fire and torturous situations that would scare even the greatest horror film director. All I need to think of is that I would be forever separated from the Lord. That’s terrifying enough for me.
On my worst days here, when I don’t feel close to God, I know He’s still there. I know it’s only a matter of time before my emotions will line back up with the Truth. He’s with me and for me. He’ll never leave me nor forsake me.
But I can leave Him, can’t I?
I could choose to deny Him. I could choose to walk away and condemn myself to an eternity without Him, to doom my soul to an endless time in hell.
If God is all powerful, how come He lets some choose to deny Him?
Here’s something I learned a long time ago: the Lord is gentle. He is firm and strong, but He will never force Himself upon you. We were created with free will so that when we decide to accept His love, it’s our choice. Yes, He’s always been knocking on the door of our heart, but we had to open that door. We had to agree with Him.
I thank Him every day for helping me, guiding me, showing me the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And then one beautiful day so many, many years ago, I turned to Him. Best decision I ever made.
But let’s get back to heaven and eternity. We can’t take our earthly fortunes with us. I don’t believe that means we shouldn’t work, earn a good living, and give to our family, friends, and those in need. On the contrary, God loves a cheerful giver. (Look it up. That’s Bible.)
There is a treasure which cannot be ruined.
Stock markets can crash. Inflation can rise. There are so many ways our earthly money can lose its value. God assures us there is a treasure that won’t be taken away or destroyed. Don’t believe me? Great. You know I brought receipts. (Any and all Bible verses, unless otherwise indicated, are from biblegateway.com, NIV, emphasis added.)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin 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)
I encourage you to read all of chapter 6 in Matthew. Jesus gives a great teaching on how to view money. This is the chapter where He explains how you can’t serve both God and money. Most of us would say we don’t serve money. Think it about though. If every day when the mail comes, you’re dreading seeing the bills, you may be serving money. If you’re worrying about the prices of food at the store, or gas at the pump, you may be serving money.
It’s normal to have a reaction when filling up your car’s tank now costs double what it did a year or two ago. I completely understand. What I believe God is saying to us is that He is bigger than an unstable economy. Our trust must be in Him and Him alone. It’s a cliché, but it does make sense: “Do your best and let God do the rest.” Be responsible. Don’t spend recklessly. And if money gets tight and you’ve done your part, trust the Lord to make up the difference.
That’s not just some fluff. I’ve watched Him move mightily in seasons where I was scrimping just to get by. I ended up with more than I should have had because I believed the words of the Bible. I had faith to know He could and would take care of me. I made practical choices, but ultimately, He blessed me beyond what my budgeting decisions could have afforded me.
I particularly like how in the verse quoted above it states how where your treasure is your heart will be also. That’s a sobering concept. Our heart will focus on what we treasure or value.
What do you treasure most?
I want my heart focused on the Lord and on telling everyone I know about His great love for us. I want to share the good news of Jesus to a world that desperately needs Him. I want my loved ones to have personal relationships with Him. I want to use my gifts, talents, and abilities to serve Him.
That’s my heart.
It doesn’t mean I’m always operating in that mode. There have been times when I definitely let my heart consider something or someone a more important treasure. Trust me, it doesn’t work out well. Check out this verse:
“And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain 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 whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:19-21)
This would fall under the Ouch category. It’s a needed wakeup call, a strong reminder. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. So, whether we’re in pursuit of more wealth, or resting on our laurels, we’re missing it. Our primary focus should be on loving and serving Him, using our resources to further His kingdom here on earth. What does that mean? Helping those less fortunate. Donating time and money to organizations that show His love to the world through providing food, clothing, healthcare, etc., and most importantly, sharing the good news.
I love how this verse describes what we should do. Check this out:
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 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. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
You can’t buy your way into heaven, obviously. We have access because of Jesus’s sacrifice. Point blank period. This verse speaks to sowing toward an eternal reward. Yes, there are rewards in heaven. Jesus spoke to His disciples about going ahead to prepare mansions for them. (You need to look that up for yourself too.) To me, the greatest reward will be dwelling in the presence of God forever, but if you want to throw in a mansion, who am I to tell you not to do it?
Did you notice how in the above verse it uses the word command. It doesn’t say suggest or even strongly recommend. It says command. This isn’t an option. It’s a requirement. And who doesn’t want to “take hold of the life that is truly life”?
I appreciate it may be challenging when bills are piling up, rent’s due and the car breaks down. I’m not making light of those real situations. I’ve experienced those tense moments. I’ve sat and cried wondering how I was going to make it. And then I was gently reminded of this verse:
But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
As I mentioned before, please read all of Matthew chapter 6. It is a phenomenal teaching. The key takeaway is always to seek first the kingdom and the Lord’s righteousness. As we do that, everything else will be given to us. We may not get everything we want but our needs will be met. Fix your eyes upon Him.
Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay in the know. And guard your treasure.
Look forward to hearing from you.