11 Also, make it your goal to live quietly, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you, – 1 Thess. 4:11 ISV
God hates sin, all sins, but He loved sinners enough to send His Son to die for us. And not just die, but to be crucified cruelly and mocked publicly. This is His example to us of how much we should love others, not just family and friends, but also strangers and enemies. The people that Paul was writing to at this time were those who gave of their resources to others who had needs and also gave to support Paul in his missionary work so that he could meet the spiritual needs of others and spread the gospel. How do we show our love for Jesus? By being obedient and helping those in need. Not just physical needs by giving of our resources, which we should do, but also giving of our time in caring for those with spiritual and emotional needs. A smile, a handshake, a hug, a word in season, a minute listening are all gifts that we can give each other and they are often much more appreciated than any monetary gift that we could give. These gifts we can give over and over since they don’t affect our budgets. So, we can do more and more. We need to be very careful of how we spend the time God has given us. The majority of our time should be spent in doing those things that will win the respect of outsiders and build up the Kingdom of God. By making it a habit to do these things, we will soon find that it is our heart’s desire to do them more and more. Not only will we receive a great blessing here and now, but we will also be laying up treasures in heaven.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matt. 6:19-21 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. — Acts 4:13 NLT Acts 4:1-15
“For they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training”. Using these oridnary men, God had drawn over 5000 men (plus the women and children} to Jesus. Ordinary men and women are the ones that Jesus uses every day to draw others to Jesus Christ. Ordianry men and women, people like you and me, are His choice to spread the Gospel. Here are two ex-fishermen that Jesus has turned into “fishers of men”. It is good to study and learn as long as our knowledge does not become our god. It is good to study and learn as long as we remember why we are doing it. Our studying and learning should be obedience-based and not outcome-based. It is good to study and learn as long as we don’t use that as an excuse for not spreading the Gospel. The time is here to put all that studying and learning to the use for which God gave us the ability to do it. We, as Christians, should have only one goal in our lives that overrides everything else that we do. That goal is to do everything for the glory of God. If we concentrate on that goal each and every day. perhaps we will one day recieve the same compliment that Peter and John received here — “They recognized them as men who had been with Jesus”. Do our lifestyles show others that “we have been with Jesus”? Do people notice the presence of Jesus in our lives? There is no higher compliment that we could pay a person than to tell them that we recognize they “have been with Jesus”.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
We spend the majority of our time working to make money and another good portion of our time figuring out how we are going to spend that money. Plans, goals and budgets are good things. Our goal is to make it to heaven, but Jesus understood that it takes money to make the trip. After all, Judas was the “treasurer” for Jesus and His disciples. But Jesus also told the rich young ruler to sell all that He had and give it to the poor. So, the question is how much is enough and how much is too much. The writer of Proverbs put it this way:
8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God. — Proverbs 30:9 NKJV
Jesus taught us to pray “give me this day my daily bread”. When God sent manna from heaven, He instructed the Israelites to collect only enough for each day (except for the day before the Sabbath when they collected enough for two days). If they collected more, it rotted and was of no use. How much is enough is a question each of us should ask the Lord. We just need to remember who we are serving and be sure we allow Him to be Lord of our lives. Then, when the bank account is overflowing, it won’t be too much and when it is empty, it won’t be too little. He has promised to provide and if we are obedient, He will do just that.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT) 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
God is waiting to show you the way.
A lot of people spend most of their lives making money. It is true that we need to work to take care of ourselves and our families. But when making money becomes our obsession and our goal, we need to step back and take a long, hard look at our lifestyles. When we spend too much of our time making money that we don’t need for our livelihood, perhaps we are laying up treasures in the wrong place. It might be time to spend more time with our families and with God. Since God has blessed you with money and most likely a good family, shouldn’t you stop to give Him thanks every day? Remember that everything belongs to God. He allows it to rain on the just and the unjust alike. He can also stop the rain if He so desires. You could be a millionaire today and a pauper tomorrow. So, don’t spend all of your time laying up treasures that will fade away, spend some time laying up treasures in heaven and those treasures will last forever. As you practice this, you will find that the desires of your heart change from an earthly, material, temporary focus to a heavenly, eternal one.