When Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” (Matthew 6:19); does that mean we are NOT to accumulate money and live an abundant life?
By Peter Salemi
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10), and that those who take up the cross and follow him will be rewarded in this life, “receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions;” (Mark10:30). Did Jesus contradict himself? Many characters in the Bible accumulated riches like Abraham (Gen 13:2) Solomon, David etc.…
God said that all money was his, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Hag 2:8). Is God a hypocrite? He owns all the money, but we as Christians, are we not allowed to have any? God is not a hypocrite! God wants us to have an abundant life and we can produce everything we want, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Duet 8:18). The context of the verses in Deuteronomy chapter 8, there is no mistaking what God means here by “wealth.” It means material wealth, property, money, substance. Applying God's laws to our life will make us wealthy and abundant as he says “I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” (Isaiah 48:17). In fact, Christians having wealth does not take away from other people having wealth-the more wealth Christians make, the more we inspire people around us to become wealthy and therefore boost them out of poverty!
So what did Jesus mean when he said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” (Matthew 6:19);
The Key Word
If you notice in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus compares what the world does in prayer charity etc.… to how God wants us to do things. He speaks of the hypocritical Jews and the gentiles and says do it this way not that way.
Notice the key word in Jesus statement, “Lay not up for YOURSELVES treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:” (Matthew 6:19). What does God say about money? This is what the world does with money. They hoard money and keep it for themselves. Instead God says to lay up money not just for you, but for your children and their children, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children:” (Prov 13:22). Money is to flow and be passed down generation to generation. Material wealth is not just for the individual but for his/her family and their generations. Paul wrote, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim 5:8). So Jesus was not saying we should not accumulate riches and wealth; but rather we should not hoard money and keep it for ourselves, (this is what the world does) which in the end get wasted or stolen and that’s not good for anybody. Instead lay it up for your family and the next generation so they can use it, produce, and lay it up for the next generation and so on.
Salvation is Personal
Spiritual wealth on the other hand is altogether different. Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (vv.20-21). No one can be involved in your salvation that is between you and God. Paul wrote, “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches” (1 Corinth 7:16-17).
Ezekiel wrote that when it comes to sinners and people who repent, it’s all on an individual level, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
“But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” (18:20-21).
Jesus is telling us to “lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven” because when it comes down to it, salvation is up to you and you alone, that why Paul says, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12). Hoard this treasure because it will, “neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” No one can take away your salvation no man can steal it, and it’s eternal it will not waste away, as it says in John, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (10:28).
God wants his people to be financially successful, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 1:2). He laid down his laws so we can be just that, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).
We must stop having this Catholic mind set about money. This poverty mindset of depriving ourselves of everything in this life thinking that money and success is contrary to God and his word-that the poorer we are the better we will be in God’s kingdom. This is false and not in the Bible! It’s because of this mindset that most Christians are not “rid[ing] upon the high places of the earth,” (Isa 58:14). God called us to be leaders and examples to the nations, a “light” to the world and live a blessed successful life so others can follow; we must abandon this catholic mindset of poverty and depravation!
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