Best of Daily Reflections: Foolproof Investment Advice from JesusDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I find Jesus’ investment advice hard to take. But then again, I don’t have a good investment track record. In October of 1987, Terri and I had somehow managed to save a bit of money. The stock market was soaring, so for the first time, we decided to invest. A week later came Black Monday and the Dow dropped 23 percent. Most of our investments have gone the same way—“Buy high and sell low.” I’ve learned to be skeptical of investment advice.
So along comes Jesus with this radical advice about investing our treasures in heaven and not earth. I have two problems with this. First, I really like my earthly treasures. It might have something to do with my upbringing.
I come from a heritage of simplicity. My dad was a pastor, and my mom stayed at home to tend to the needs of my sisters and me and the series of foster children we welcomed into our home. To save money, my dad brought home powdered milk in five gallon drums. My mom mixed it with water, added a little half-and-half, and kept it in mayonnaise jars. I didn’t even know mayonnaise came in jars until I saw some in the market one day and wondered why they put mayonnaise in milk jars. In the summer, we handpicked vegetables and fruit in the U-pick farms that dotted our part of western Oregon. My mom canned or froze our harvest for later in the year. I swear her motto was, “Why have it fresh if you can have it canned?” Every Sunday afternoon she sat at her office desk in the living room and made an accounting of every penny that was spent by anyone in the house. We lived in disciplined simplicity.
I spent a long time living without earthly treasures, and now I’ve discovered that I really like living with them—at least the few we have. That’s my first problem.
My second problem is that I don’t really understand what Jesus means by “heavenly treasures.” I’ve studied this, and it’s just so vague. I once heard that God will ask two questions when we meet him: (1) What did you do about my son Jesus, and (2) Did you bring anyone with you? It simplifies and clarifies the question to think that heavenly treasures include obeying Jesus and speaking well of him to others.
So here’s some sound investment advice. Take Jesus seriously and obey him with everything you’ve got. Then live in such a way before others that they will come to love Jesus as much as you do. And you’ll be rich—in heaven.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When it comes to personal or family resources, what is your history? How are you doing today? In what area of your life can you take Jesus more seriously? How can you help people see Jesus more clearly in your life?
PRAYER: Most glorious and generous God, thank you for all you’ve done to supply my life and to sustain me in my daily living. Reveal where greed and fear have hold of me. Please help me shift the desires of my heart from fading earthly treasures to eternal heavenly treasures. This is a steep uphill battle for me. Sustain me in my quest, O Lord. Amen.
Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren.
Should Christians (or Christian businesses) tithe? How much money should I give away? Does God want me to take a vow of poverty and give everything away? Will God punish me if I don’t tithe? How do I balance my budget of needs and wants with the biblical command of giving? If you’ve ever asked these questions to find out exactly what tithing means and how it applies to you, you are not alone. We’ll explore the concept of Tithing in this High Calling theme, and we invite you to follow along. Ask questions, offer your insights, and help us keep the conversation going.