What really matters?

treasure

How do you make your decisions?  How do you spend your time?  We find ourselves often fretting and stressing over things that either we cannot change, or in a few moments, days, weeks, or years we will have completely forgotten.  This is one of the reasons that Jesus commands us,

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

– Matt 6.34

Every day has its own tensions, stresses and frustrations.  Each day also has its own joys, pleasures and comforts.  But how much of what we have done yesterday will last through eternity?

“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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

– Matt 6.19-21

This is an interesting command.  Jesus wants us to build up treasures, just not ones that are earthly.  Everything that exists here on Earth, and those fleeting pleasures of affirmation, adoration and approval will pass away.  They will rust, they will break down, they will pass.  And Jesus, desiring us to have eternal joy and pleasure in God, teaches us that if we store up treasures in eternity, in Heaven, they will give true joy and never pass away.

What does that mean?  How do we store up treasures in Heaven?  Scripture teaches us that when Christians are judged at the end of time, our deeds will be weighed.  Sin and wickedness will be burned up like weeds, but those things we have done to the glory and honor of God will be purified through the fire and come out as gold and precious stones (1 Cor 3.10-15).

What is the most eternal treasure?  Other souls in Heaven.  The Great Commission was given to us as Jesus final parting words:  Go make disciples of all nations (Matt 28.18-20).  God desires to use us as a part of His plan to bring other souls to salvation.  When we get to Heaven, our works will be judged and there will be actual rewards, but no greater reward than a fellow soul in eternal joy with us.

We will also receive a variety of rewards, like the “crown of life”, the “crown of righteousness” and the “crown of glory” (Rev 2.10, 2 Tim 4.8, 1 Peter 5.4).  Some people interpret these verses to be literal crowns, like those awarded to athletes who won at the ancient olympics.  I believe the term crown to be figurative of the gift it represents:  eternal life, godly righteousness, and our final glorification.  We learn elsewhere in Scripture that these are the eternal goals of salvation, and it will be our “crowning glory” to ultimately receive them after the final judgment.

But to whom is rewarded this gifts?  Those who persevere until the end.  Those who feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  Those who make disciples.  Those who abide in Jesus.  Those who glorify God in everything that they do.  Those who are faithful.

These are the things that will matter forever.  Not the house you buy, the car you drive or the clothes you wear – unless of course all of these decisions are made with an eternal goal.  Perhaps you buy a house to house homeless or that is ready for missionaries as they come through.  Perhaps you drive an economic car in which you offer people rides and share the Gospel with them along the way.  Perhaps you wear respectable clothes that honor God in the way you present yourself.

Figure out what things will last forever.  And focus on doing them.  A lot.  Nothing else matters.

The world is in turmoil.

turmoil

Every once in a while, there is a tidal wave of catastrophic events.  This past week, we have seen three extremely different events rock the world:  the earthquake in Nepal, the death of Freddie Grey while in police custody led to a week of rioting in Baltimore, and the issue of same sex marriage has gone before the Supreme Court.  One massive natural disaster, one man-man disaster and one country-dividing controversy.

But how much of the turmoil felt in the last few days been about the unsaved dying and going to Hell?

None.  The answer is none.  Why?  Because we have a short attention span and temporal perspective.  We have conveniently forgotten about the ebola crisis, the war in the Middle East and ISIS, and the greatest tragedy of all is that people are dying without ever having heard the name of Jesus.  Approximately 56 million people die every year.  That is an average of 153,425 that die every single day.  And while some of them know Jesus and are entering into eternal rest, many of them are not.  And many of them have never heard the offer of salvation through the Gospel.

Consider this:  Jesus came to the World to die for the sins of many.  He did not stop any wars.  He did not respond to natural disasters.  He did not fight the oppression of the Roman Empire which, for hundred of years, would kill Christians simply for being Christians.  He came to deal with one problem:  sin.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

 – Luke 19.10

Let’s see what Jesus said about His intention in coming to Earth:

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

 – John 6.38-40

There is one thing that separates us from God:  sin.  Jesus came to the earth to deal with that one problem.  If Jesus, who is God Himself, considers that to be the worthy of all of His time and energy, should we not have the same attitude and perspective?

Yes, the world is in upheaval.  Yes, we need to be informed and involved in these tragedies and issues.  But by this time next month (if not next week), we will have forgotten about them and moved onto the next hot topic.  All the while one thing persists, and that is eternity.  Hundreds of thousands of people are entering eternity every single day, and many of those without a Savior.  Let us remember what truly matters.  Let us focus on the eternal.  Let’s get riled up about that which riled up Jesus!