A Glimpse Into Eternity: Investing In The Right Tomorrow
Return on The Investments
How are your investments this morning? Been a bid of a rough patch the last couple of weeks.
More downs than ups, that’s for sure. Makes you kinda nervous when it comes to your precious investments, doesn’t it?
But we are told that things are still on track and that we need to take a longer view of things then momentary glitches.
We are also reminded of 2008 and the dive that many took at that time; and how things surged back from there as a way to provide some reassurance to jittery nerves.
Yet there is always an element of risk when it comes to investments with stories of people who were wiped out and left destitute. Makes you wonder if there are any rock solid safe investments at all.
Yet throughout this series, if we have learned anything it is that there are great investment opportunities with God.
The parables from last week talked about earthly, material things that we have been entrusted with – the three t’s of stewardship, namely time, talent and treasure.
In the parable of the talents it was all about goods in the form of talents; in the parable of the minas it was all about money in the form three years worth of salaries; and in the parable of the tenants of the vineyard it was all about property in the form of vineyards.
All of it given from owners to the servants who were expected to steward it; which if done well would assure them a great treasure or a guaranteed return on an investment.
Here’s the thing you need to realize: No matter how you come at it, no matter how you do stewardship sooner or later you are going to come up against money.
Yes, we are to steward time and we are to steward talent but at some point we are also asked to steward treasure. You can’t get around the question of the money that’s been entrusted to you and the ability that you have been given to make money grow.
You see, money is what makes the world go round.
Clive Pick whom some of you remember from years ago used to say that that the most expensive undertaking in the world is realizing the return of our Lord Jesus Christ since it necessitates among other things that the Gospel of our Lord having been communicated in a such a way that everyone has had a chance to respond.
His point is to see that happen requires great resources, which is why God has given most of us the ability to make money and some of us to make loads of money.
It is not to be rich in this world but to invest our treasure so that the Kingdom of God would advance.
What you do with your treasure and money says everything about what you are investing in and how safe those investments are.
Peter was among the first to make that connection when he heard Jesus tell the rich young ruler “You will have treasures in heaven” (Math 19:21) if he were to only invest his possessions to advance the Kingdom and then follow Jesus.
When Peter heard that, his response was “See, we have left all and followed you. Therefore what shall we have?” (Math 19:27). Instead of scolding Peter for his self-interest, he told him what his reward for giving up all for the Kingdom would be:
“Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” Math 19:28
They would be rulers and administrators of nations and tribes in the world to come. Not only that, Jesus then says in the next verse:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. “ Mth 19:29
The most amazing thing is that in this life between birth and death everything is determined.
Destination is determined (“will inherit eternal life”) by making Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Quality of eternity is determined (“will receive a hundred times as much”) by using your treasure, talent and time to advance not your kingdom but God’s.
Hundredfold is the equivalent of a 10,000 % return on the investment. That’s how you get rich in God’s eyes!
This is how the Donald Trump’s and Conrad Black’s of this world who maybe first in this world will be last in the next one while ordinary followers of Jesus like you and I will actually be first: “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” Math. 19:30
Transferring Your Treasure To Heaven!
Lest you think that somehow that is not real treasure; that it’s spiritual treasure or spiritual blessings, I need you to know that the treasure you will receive is like hard currency you can take to the bank.
The crowns, rewards and commendations you turn into heaven’s currency that will support the quality of your eternity!
I am not making this stuff up, folks. Take a look at Math 6:19-20
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
The same word for treasure is used to describe treasures on earth and treasures in heaven!
If treasures on earth have a monetary value attached to it and if the same word is used for treasures in heaven then you can assume that heaven’s treasures will also have some sort of value attached to it.
These are not going to be just halos on your head in heaven but something what will eventually be some kind of a currency that will support your place and role in eternity!
Which makes it sound like there is going to be a life to be lived there; and a society in eternity just like there are societies on earth where you and I will have full, productive meaningful existences.
We will not be sitting on clouds playing the harp gazing off into a sunset.
Your life in eternity will be made possible by what you have earned while on earth. So I say to you, start now and start young.
Just in case some of you are struggling with questions of fairness. Maybe it’s child that dies young or a man who dies too soon and with it at that moment the earning power on earth is done and you wonder how is that fair?
Or someone comes to faith late in life and won’t have the potential that you and I have who have been serving God for a long time; and we wonder how will they make out?
For those and many more there is God’s great equalization plan found in the Parable of the Workers in in Vineyard of Mathew 20 where those who were hired for shorter periods still received the same denarius as those who worked longer.
While this addresses the extenuating circumstances of life such as a premature death, it does not fix the problem of those who had Jesus in their hearts but chose not to live lives invested for the Kingdom.
Therefore start now and transfer your treasure to heaven!
It’s like when you make the big move. When Reni and I packed up all our stuff and I watched that truck roll out of Lindsay I knew that it would be months before we would get out of stuff out of storage and into our new house.
The same thing with what I am telling you this morning.
“We forward the treasure of our lives on to heaven a lot like that. We stay behind with the essentials. But the real goods – if we intend to keep their value through eternity – must go on ahead” Bruce Wilkinson in “A Life God Rewards”
In some ways, this is God’s moving plan. “To move your treasure to heaven, you have to send it ahead” Wilkinson says; which is exactly what Jesus had in mind when he said:
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33
That’s sending treasures up ahead. Every time you do selfless things such as give to the poor, you provide purses or wallets for yourself in heaven that will not wear out. These are the treasures in heaven that will never fail.
The same link again this time in Luke 16:10-12
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”
If you can be trusted to turn the talent or two or maybe even five into double that you will be trusted with incredibly more in eternity!
The kicker is that in heaven it will not be someone else’s property instead it will be yours. Everything is now on loan. Everything there will be yours.
The house your own here is not yours. The earning power you have achieved is not yours own. The incredible talents you have developed and possess are also not your own.
God loans talents, time and treasures to you.
When you return these at the end of your earthly life, the value of your stewardship will be placed in heaven’s bank.
To be left there until some future day when the dead in Christ will rise and heaven’s bank will be opened and you and I will be given as your very own what we have earned while serving Jesus on earth.
So be trustworthy with what you have been given here.
What does that look like for you? That’s the question, isn’t it! What treasures has God given you? What is your mina? It may be one talent or maybe five talents
The question is what has God given you and what are you doing with it? What is God saying you should do with these treasures of yours?
These are the questions that matter most.
Eyes For Eternity
Investment advisors will tell you to have a long-term view in terms of your investments. Don’t look at what the market is doing today. Don’t see only today’s volatility or you will drive yourself crazy and want to pull the money out every time there is a dip or downturn.
Have a view to the long term, so we are told.
Well, when it comes to eternity the same approach is needed because it is after all long-term investment. You do not see the payoff tomorrow nor will you see a return on the investment the day after.
So tomorrow will dawn, the sun will rise and you will still be planted with both feet in terra firma, in this soil and on this planet. You will wake up facing the same struggles of this life.
The pressure of raising a family, the stress of starting out a life and worries of old age will all be there. In all that sometimes you can loose sight of what you are really living for.
You may wonder what is happening to all these investments of mine. So I am investing in the five crowns of selfless service, sharing the Gospel with others, living for his return and living a consisting Christian life despite pressure, ridicule and trouble.
And I am doing it for all the right reasons so where is my return and payoff?
For everyone who has ever lost heart, Paul says:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 1So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”1 Cor. 4:16-18
Earth may be temporary but it sure is convincing!
Unless you have eyes of faith that sees the long term and sees down the long and winding road toward the edge of eternity, you will be driven mad by what seems like the short end of the stick.
God’s Scroll of Remembrance
So for every missionary, for every church volunteer, for every giver to the Kingdom cause, for everyone who has every stood in prayer or has given their very best to the Master, I give you God’s Scroll of Remembrance:
“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?
But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” Malachi 3:15-18
This is God at his most tender. This is God who understands that we in jars of clay limited by time and space and can easily loose heart and become discouraged with the pressures of this life.
And so he creates for us a Scroll of Remembrance in which every deed done in the name of Jesus is recorded and the distinction will be made between those who serve God and those who do not.
He will open the Scroll of Remembrance and the truth about his generosity, faithfulness and justice will be evident to all.
In fact, so concerned is He that we are shown as quickly as possible that our investments of talents, time and treasure were not wasted.
The very first thing he does at the Resurrection is to show us our reward:
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every one according to his work” Rev. 22:12
Doesn’t set up his kingdom as his first business - that can wait. Doesn’t throw the party of the ages – that also can wait. The first thing He does is show his people their rewards.
So believe in God’s eternal reward for you and live for that day! Live in the blink of an eye between birth and death and in this tiny dot on the timeline of eternity as citizens of heaven.
That’s what it comes down to as we wrap this up: Whose citizen are you? Are you a citizen of the world or a citizen of heaven?
A citizen of heaven with a longing to be there knowing that my investments of talents, treasure and time entrusted to me on earth will greatly impact my life as a citizen of heaven.
So this day, in these closing moments I want you to commit your life anew to being a citizen of heaven. If that is in your heart, then pray after me:
“Dear Jesus, I have heard what you said about my real home. I believe you and can’t wait to get there. Until then I renounce my allegiance to the things of this world and pledge my allegiance to you, the King of Heaven. From this day on, I will live as a faithful steward of what has been entrusted to me. I will take every opportunity, gift and resource that you place in my hand and multiply it greatly for you. And I look forward to the day when I stand in your presence, receive my reward and serve you forever”
Here you can find several messages. Feel free to write your thoughts or questions in the comment section.