Laying up Treasure in Heaven

We closed last time with the idea that adopting a “send it on ahead” investment strategy for our finances is a matter of faith.  But is it safe to say it may be a matter of faith, but it is not necessarily a matter of obedience?  After all, isn’t this revolutionary approach to financial planning just one of the choices among many that we are free to consider?

Recall Jesus’ summary statement regarding His Sermon on the Mount teaching about money, “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys” (Lk 12:33).  Later in the same gospel, Luke records this observation from our Master, “And [Jesus] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins.  And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.’ ” (Lk 21:1-4).

Jesus blunt description and commendation of giving in a way that satisfies His high standard of “laying up treasure in heaven” tends to make us more than a little uncomfortable.  But isn’t this the tenor of Jesus’ teaching throughout the gospels regarding the high cost of discipleship?  I think this is why Jesus balances the high cost with the admonition to not enter this discipleship path lightly.  He gives us the option and obligation to consider the cost (Lk 14:26-35).  So I will leave it to you to consider the “matter of obedience” question and we will move on to consider, next post, the “investment” practice of the early church.