The Song of the Mountains – Verse 42
Teach them well.
All of us are familiar with the stresses and difficulties of adulthood, not the least of which is financial stress. As a father I have tried to teach financial conservatism by example. Making sure that we save enough, that we consider options before making purchases, and that we measure future considerations appropriately. Most of us desire to ensure that our children can take care of themselves as they leave the nest, and when needed, of course, we help them. Obviously none of us can see the future and adequately prepare for every twist and turn that life has to offer; but you pray that you prepare your children to be as responsible, and equipped as possible for the life that is before them.
In Matthew 6:19-21 Messiah teaches, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
An important component that must be included in raising children, and the teaching of financial responsibility, is faith. We should teach them to work hard with honesty and integrity in order to support themselves and their families; but that there is a greater treasure to be found in life.
In what do we trust?
In this lesson, Yeshua/Jesus is teaching us a valuable lesson regarding what we are placing our trust in. Now, He knows that we need financial means to live, and He is not telling us to ignore such concerns. Rather, He is speaking to us regarding treasure that does not tarnish, and cannot be stolen: heavenly treasure.
One of the first things that we note in our text is this: Yeshua is speaking to us as His disciples, and that we are going to heaven, Amen! Yet, what of the earthly? In our text we find four descriptions of “earthly treasures.”
- Possessions: How many of us still own our first television or computer? Many things that we treasured or greatly enjoyed got old, or fell out of fashion with time. The apostle Paul wrote, “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” The story is told of a wealthy old man on his death bed, who asked that all of his gold be brought to his bed: jewelry, coins and gold nuggets. He lay on his bed, holding the things that he treasured most, but when he died it slipped from his hands and fell to the ground.
- Earthly Power: Some people have great wealth that brings with it influence over other people, as examples: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch or Warren Buffett. Our society highly respects such people, and in many cases, stand in awe of them – but they too will die.
- Pleasure: There are many pleasurable things in this life, but some things are taken to excess; yet, pleasures too will end.
- Praise: We must be careful not to live for the praise of men, but the praise of God to one day hear, “well done, thy good and faithful servant.”
Wealth is a blessing, but not the only blessing.
Scripture has a favorable attitude regarding wealth; as wealth, blessing, and prosperity are an outworking of covenant blessing. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were wealthy by the Lord’s design. Job, after being tried, was blessed by the Lord with great wealth once again. Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy and faithful man, who tended to Yeshua’s body – an act of a disciple. The apostle Paul tells us that there were “not many” wealthy people in the congregation, implying that there were some (I Cor. 1:26).
However, wealth, and yearning for it, can become a snare. It can lead to a vain attempt to serve both God and money. After a wealthy man refuses to give up his wealth in order to follow Yeshua, He says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The lingering nature of the old man, with its preoccupation with wealth, can easily influence us to pursue such things under the guise of faith. Paul rightly warns that the “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (I Tim. 6:9-10), so it is not money itself that is evil, but the love of it; our treasure leading our hearts in this instance.
The bottom line is that earthly treasures and wealth, although not inherently bad, do not last and we cannot take them with us – have you ever seen a U-Haul behind a hearse? Having officiated at many funerals, I have yet to witness such a sight. I recall watching an interview of the chairman of Lehman Brothers back in 2008, the morning after the company collapsed, he was a billionaire the night before and bankrupt the next morning – all while he was sleeping.
Getting to the point.
So what point am I leading us to? As followers of Messiah, we are not only living for today and the care and concerns of daily life, we must have a mindset of eternity before us as well. There is a poetic verse by Charles Studd that brings this point forward: “Only one life, t’will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Dear reader, where your treasure is, your heart will also be there. Unfortunately, our hearts often follow our currency. The Lord, then, asks us to invest in people, in His Kingdom, both near and far, so that our hearts are always with them, and ultimately, with Him.
The deeds we do in faith, for Messiah, showing care, concern, and love to those around us, both family, friend and stranger, is deposited in our heavenly account from which no one can steal and upon which, no corruption will come. Yeshua asked, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
It’s a matter of faith.
Shalom. Be well.