How to Have Treasures in Heaven

Picture1Let’s ask an important question, “How will you have treasures in heaven according to Matthew?” In Bible study, we begin with what Matthew thinks about storing heavenly treasures, not what we think about it.

Matthew 19:16-21:

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”

   17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

   18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,

   19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

   20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”

   21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.

How will you have treasures in heaven according to Matthew? You gain treasures in heaven by doing three things: (1) sell your possessions; (2) give it to the poor; and (3) follow Jesus.

When Jesus told the rich young man to sell it all, to give it to the poor, and to follow Jesus, Jesus was really requiring ABSOLUTE COMMITMENT. Jesus demands nothing short of TOTAL COMMITMENT. Total commitment requires the selling of all possessions, giving it to the poor, and following Jesus.

Peter understood Jesus’ words. After the rich young man went away, Peter said to Jesus, “We have left everything and followed you” (Matt. 19:27). Peter understood Jesus’ words literally. “We have left everything,” he said. Peter knew that Jesus was not demanding a SYMBOLIC commitment requiring NOTHING from them. Rather, Jesus was demanding a RADICAL commitment requiring EVERYTHING from them. Sell it all, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus.

Let me ask you the next question. Have you done these things? Have you sold your things? Have you given it to the poor? Are you following Jesus? If not yet, you do not yet have treasures in heaven.

You should ask me now, “Pastor, does this mean that I will sell my house, my car, and withdraw all my money from the bank and give it all to the poor?” Yes, because Jesus demands ABSOLUTE COMMITMENT from you and me. If you love your house, your car, and your money MORE than Jesus, then yes, sell it all and give it to the poor, to show that you are absolutely committed to follow Him.

Jesus saw the heart of the young man. He saw that this rich young man loved his money more than God. So Jesus challenged him to show Jesus that he loved Jesus more than these things. Sell it all and give it to the poor.

But in the case of Zacchaeus, it is different. Zacchaeus loved Jesus more than his money. Luke 19:8-10 reads,

   2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.

   3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature.

   4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.

   5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.

   7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

   8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

   9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.

   10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Note what Zacchaeus said, “Lord, I will give one-half of my possessions to the poor.” Jesus answered, “Today you are saved.” The rich young man must sell it ALL and give it to the poor. Yet Zacchaeus will give ONE-HALF only, not all of it, to the poor. Then Jesus approves it.

But why does Jesus require more from the rich young man? The reason is that Zacchaeus loved Jesus more than his goods. But the rich young man loved his goods more than Jesus.

Jesus saw Zacchaeus’ heart. Zacchaeus’ heart loved Jesus enough that he was willing to give up his money. But Jesus saw that the rich young man’s heart did not love Jesus enough to give up his money.

Thus, it is not so much the percentage of your possessions as in the percentage of your heart that you will give to Jesus.

A story is told of a wealthy man who rose to tell of how he gave all his money to the Lord.

I remember the turning point in my faith. I had just earned my first dollar, and I went to a church service that night. The speaker was a missionary who told us about his work. I knew that I only had a single dollar bill and had to either give it all to God’s work or nothing at all. So, at that moment, I decided to give it all to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today.

The crowd sat in awed silence at his testimony as he moved back to his seat. As he sat down, a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said to him, “I dare you to do it all again!”[1]

Do you love Jesus more than your house, car, and money today? Jesus sees your heart. Jesus demands TOTAL COMMITMENT to Him. You must be willing to give it all up and follow Jesus.

[1] Robert Strand, The Power of Debt-Free Living (Mobile: Evergreen, 2003), 14.

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