“Store up for yourself treasures in heaven…”
How many times do I hear these lines quoted by pastors and read in the Scriptures, yet my heart does not resonate with the weight of its truth? What does it mean for me to store up treasures in heaven and what does that even look like? I can understand how material things are temporary, how power is relinquished at death, and that vitality has a shelf life, but how do I prepare for a world unseen or a hope unrealized? The words of Christ imply that we are active in shaping what blessings we will enjoy when our bodies breathe their last breath of life in this dying world. Choices are not arbitrary, but have a ripple effect upon eternity’s shore. How I choose to live my life now will shape my experience of heaven, the new earth.
When you are confronted with the dreadful reality of death you cannot help but evaluate every aspect of your life, the choices you made, past mistakes, where you dedicated your time, the people you love. Mortality’s hands force our eyes to turn and focus on how we spent our love over time. We actively shape our experience of heaven, life after death, by our love. The things I most desperately desire to be waiting for me in heaven are the things I dearly love most, people. Christ’s promise of a new heaven and new earth is not about receiving a proverbial crown or mansion with many rooms, but a promise of reunion. We are intricately woven together for relationship, to receive and foster love in others. The image of God imprinted on our very being is not merely a functional will, moral fiber or reason, but the ability to enter into a loving relationship with our creator and each other. Sin is a wedge that divides us from the source of true, unquenchable love, while plunging the world into a cycle of soul-dividing death. Because of sin, our love is squandered on lifeless trash.
The blessing of heaven, eternal life, is not about living forever, but a quality of life. Eternal life is knowing Christ, who is the perfect love our souls yearn to know. Heaven is where tears go to die as we are united with our loved ones and embraced by the pierced hands of Christ who reconciles us to the Father. It is the love of Christ that fills our lungs with the breath of hope, being united once again with God and those we love.
Now, the blessings we store up in heaven are each other.
Christ infuses his love into ever fiber of our being, the marrow of our bones, in order to resuscitate life and hope in others. We participate with Christ in reconciling hurting people to a loving God. I want to love others so they can sample the love of Christ and embrace the same promise of reunion. I want to walk next to the feet Jesus with my brothers and sisters, my friends and coworkers, family and acquaintances. I want hold the warm hands of my grandfather and grandmother whom death callously stole from me. We are not designed to die or to witness the casualties of our sin.
What a cruel fate it is to bury the treasures you love.
The hope of Christ, the gift of heaven, is reclaiming what is lost. We must embody the love Christ in our lives and extend it to others. The only thing you can bring to heaven is people.
You follow the love of your heart when you die. We need to remember why we serve in ministry, why we should be missional, why we should proclaim the Gospel: To love people as God loves them. People come before jobs, people come before good grades, people come before a career, people come before hobbies, and people come before wants because Christ surrendered all to redeem all.
Who will you bring to walk on eternity’s shore?
“Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)