Unfortunately, we Christians do the same whenever we give up heavenly treasures for earthly ones (Matthew 6:19-20; 1Timothy 6:18-19).
We’re trading spiritual wealth for a few shiny pennies when we:
- Take the easy way instead of the right way
- Avoid an opportunity to share our faith
- Focus on worldly goals
- Keep our mouths shut when Biblical values are mocked
- Overlook some of God’s commands
Remember the Centurion who didn’t feel he even deserved to have Jesus in his home? He was trading earthly honor for heavenly honor (Matthew 8:5-13).
Remember those “who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35)?
Let’s think before we reach for those shiny pennies, dear Christians.
I encourage you to check out the Bible Love Notes archive of devotions about Money and Things.
Bible StudyWhen we read Hebrews 11 about men and women of faith, we see what it means to store up treasure in heaven:
1. It’s trusting what we don’t see.
11:1-2: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
2. It’s believing in intentional beauty in a culture that believes in accidental beauty.
11:3-4: By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
3. It’s giving God our best.
11:4: By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
4. It’s believing God sees what we do and rewards us if we seek Him.
11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
5. It’s believing the impossible.
11:7: By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
6. It’s believing in the future promises.
11:8-13: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
7. It's living counterculture.
11:14-16: People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
8. It’s growing from testing and trials.
11:17-19: By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
9. It’s believing God can give us a future in spite of our past.
11:31: By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
10. It’s about earthly victories, healing, and rewards.
11:32-35: And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again.
11. It’s about hardship, suffering, and sometimes paying the ultimate earthly price.
11:35-40: There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com