Monday, February 19, 2007

Storehouses: Being Rich Unto God

One day Jesus was preaching to the crowds, and said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possess” (Luke 12:15). Then He told this parable:
The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he though within himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” So he said, “I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’”

But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?”

So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:16-21)
The problem with this man was not that he had storehouses. It was not even that he was laying up treasure for himself. The real problem is that he was not rich toward God.

God has already promised us that He would bless us in our storehouses when we honor Him with out possessions, and with firstfruits of our increase (Proverbs 3:9-10). That is being rich unto God.

The Lord Jesus had this to say about laying up treasure:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
Notice that Jesus instructs us to lay up treasure for ourselves — but to lay it up for ourselves in heaven, and that is about the attitude of our heart. We are not to lay up treasure the way the world does. The world ends up loving, trusting and serving money, just as the fool in Jesus’ parable did. But we are to lay up treasure and use it for the purposes of heaven. That is being rich unto God.

The man in this parable thought wealth and riches were about using them to satisfy his lusts, so he said to his soul, “Take it easy. Eat, drink and be merry.” But James comment about unanswered prayer is also applicable here: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss that you may spend it on your pleasure” (James 4:3). God does not give us the ability to create wealth so we can be selfish with it, but so we can use it to glorify Him and bless others.

Toward the end of chapter 4, James makes a comment that is very reminiscent of Jesus’ parable:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)
Just like the fool in the parable, these whom James addresses have no regard for the purposes of God. Their plans and their profits are about their own arrogance, so their boasting, just like the boasting of the fool in the parable, is evil.

God gives us the power to create wealth so that we may be rich toward Him. When we have our hearts properly oriented toward Him, then God will be able to bless us richly in our storehouses, because He knows that we will be using it for the purposes of heaven. This is a vitally important issue because, where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also.