Don’t Enter Heaven Empty-Handed23 October, 2020
As economies restart in the post-Covid 19 reset and gear towards rebuilding in the ‘new normal’, one area which needs to be redefined and re-evaluated in our lives is the way we value the things important to us – our treasures.
Jesus has something to say about this. In Matthew 6:19-21, He admonished us not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth, but in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Then He concluded in verse 21 with this truth, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
If all our money is invested in the things of this world, then our desires will also be constantly earthbound. In other words, your heart will always follow what you value as your treasure.
In verse 20, Jesus tells us where we should invest. We need to realise that there are eternal riches awaiting us in heaven that we’ll enjoy throughout all eternity. The wise man invests constantly in the Kingdom of God. The foolish invests in this world that will soon pass away.
Earthly treasures won’t last forever, but there’s a treasure that ‘endures forever’. That treasure is revealed in Isaiah 33:6, ‘Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure.’ The fear of the Lord is God’s treasure, so it’s not something to be despised or taken lightly. The fear of the Lord contains more blessings and promises than we can ever apprehend. And He’s sharing that with us. How precious is that.
The other truth about the fear of the Lord is found in Psalm 19:9, ‘The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever’. The fear of the Lord not only keeps us from defilement, it lasts forever. There’s never a time when the fear of the Lord ceases to be relevant in our lives and for eternity.
There are conditions that we’ve to fulfill to have the fear of the Lord in our lives. One is found in Proverbs 1:28-29, “They will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” Why do we have to choose the fear of the Lord? Because not everybody wants it. Not everyone will ‘treasure’ or see its value even though this is one of God’s treasures. There are probably more sermons preached about the blessings of God than about the fear of the Lord. We want the benefits and blessings of the Kingdom without living by its rules.
One of the most powerful parables Jesus taught, also one of His shortest, is the Parable of the Hidden Treasure. In Matthew 13:44, Jesus described it thus: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
Imagine, five minutes before this man’s discovery in the field, the thought of selling all that he owned to buy it wouldn’t have crossed his mind. Even if it had, it would’ve seemed ridiculous. But, five minutes after finding the treasure, he was willing to do it with joy.
The difference? The treasure. This man suddenly found something that transformed his whole outlook on life. The treasure restructured his values and priorities. The treasure altered his goals and revolutionised him.
I first heard of the fear of the Lord when our church was located in a shophouse along Kembangan back in the 1990s. During a morning prayer meeting, we sang the song ‘We choose the fear of the Lord’ in a minor key and it sounded solemn and contemplative.
Ps Yang shared about the need to be humble, teachable, and remain small in own eyes. The key was to have the fear of the Lord. We ended the meeting with all committing to choose the fear of the Lord. You could feel God’s pleasure and presence in that room.
The fear of the Lord has preserved me, kept me from evil, protected me from many potential pitfalls, and given me favour with the Lord. There are two things I pray over myself and my family daily – God’s wisdom and the fear of the Lord.
Will you choose the fear of the Lord as your treasure today? Your heart will always follow what you value as your treasure. May we be wise stewards who utilise and invest the time and resources that God has blessed us with, to store up heavenly treasures that are of eternal value. Because, if all we do in this life is to store up treasures on earth, when the time comes for us to go to our heavenly home, we may just show up empty-handed.
Pastor Kevin Koh