God has a lot to say to the rich through the scriptures, because our stewardship of our God-given resources is very important to our lives and indeed our eternal destiny. Our lives is not in how much we’ve got but can be determined by how much we use what we’ve got-Luke 12:15. The story of the rich fool is one of the greatest disasters in the bible. He was rich, but was a fool. The way we relate with our riches tells and matters a lot-Luke 12:15-21. It was his riches that actually destroyed him.
Pro 1:32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
Despite the lessons from the story of the rich fool, many people still repeat this story line which becomes their undoing. Money and riches are a gift from God, and God holds us accountable for them. Many times God blesses people, because they do not relate to it properly they eventually get destroyed by it. There is danger in having riches. Riches is relative and is measured differently by people. Irrespective of these differences, it has a way of making you fall into temptation. History has shown that a man can be wise to make him rich, but not wise enough to manage it. 1Tim 6:9-10 and 17-19.
9 But they who will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which plunge men into destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is a root of all evils, of which some having lusted after, they were seduced from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
17 Charge the rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, He offering to us richly all things to enjoy,
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to share, to be generous,
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
The bible contains instructions on how it should be managed. One of such is to lay up a good foundation for eternal life. You cannot buy eternal life, but you can lay the foundation. That is, it will help you to have treasures in heaven. There is a heaven’s way to enjoy the riches of God in your trust not in this world alone but also in that to come. Wealth has been known to destroy many; resources have been known to make many pierce themselves with many sorrows. Many have had their homes destroyed just because of sudden wealth. So many have lost their faith in the quest to make money. Learn from God’s word on how to spend money when the riches come because motives are very important. Jesus didn’t save us to make our lives bitter but to make it better. Jesus taught on the uses of wealth in Matthew 6:19-26 thus:
19 Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.
20 But lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye. Therefore if your eye is sound, your whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26 Behold the birds of the air; for they sow not, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them; are you not much better than they are?
According to the scripture above, Jesus gave us the following important instructions:
- Lay up no treasures on earth for yourselves. This does not imply material riches is wrong or evil; rather, these riches will one day be wiped out with the earth. The interpretation of this is in the second instruction thus.
- Lay up treasures in Heaven for yourselves. This implies the way not to lay up treasures on earth in instruction one is to do the second instruction.
- You cannot serve God and mammon. While instruction one seems difficult, instruction two is made possible by serving the Lord not mammon. Mammon is the supposed god of money.
- Your eye must be single (sound, healthy or unclouded). The eye is to the body what light is to life. What the eye performs to the human body is what light performs to life. As the activities of life are directed according to the light it receives so are the activities of the body directed by what the eyes see or receive. A sound or single eye is pure and focused on God. It is sound and wholesome. When your eyes are sound and focused on God, then you will be able to translate personal earthly treasures into heavenly treasures.
- There can be an evil eye. It does not receive light from God. It serves God and money. It does not live for God but other things. An evil eye is self-centered, covetous, insincere, a critical spirit, with sinful intentions. It will do anything for money.
Serve the Lord with pure motive, and then you will begin to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven. To serve God means to live for Him; to worship Him with your life and resources. The stewardship of your resources shows who you serve.
There are five different funds you must commit your resources to in the house of God, these are:
1. Invest In God’s Treasury Fund
God’s treasury fund means anything you take to worship God with. This includes tithe and offering. It is used to finance the work of God, e.g. church administration and maintenance, salaries, asset procurement, e.t.c. Paying your tithe and offering means telling God you love and wants His kingdom work on earth to increase. Mal 3:8-12.
2. Invest In The Mutual Fund Of Heaven
God’s second purpose for our lives is to love other people. The mutual fund of heaven is for people not the work of God. It is used to encourage fellowships and relationships among people, e.g. hospitality, hosting breakfast, lunch or dinner, e.t.c, Rom 12:10 &13.
3. Invest in God’s Growth Fund
This is any money invested to bring spiritual growth to God’s people-the saved. It also includes monies used to enhance one’s personal character or spiritual growth. Examples include monies spent on church workers’ convention or congress, Christian literatures and CD/DVD messages, Christian education, e.t.c. 2 Pet 3:18.
4. Invest In Service Equity Fund
This fund is meant for people with financial needs. This money is used for welfare, Samaritan-care, feeding the poor, assisting the poor and needy. Your life is worth nothing when it is not helping others. You need to move from selfishness to generosity while inspiring other people to do the same. Responding to financial crisis is serving people. Giving cements relationships and makes people to find people-2 Cor 8:3-4, Pro 11:24.
5. Invest In God’s Global Fund
This is the fund that takes the gospel far and beyond your locality. This money is used for the planting of churches, airing of the gospel on broadcast media and the internet, and the publication of the Word on print media. As a church, we have a responsibility to reach out to the entire world. The whole world is our parish. The gospel is free but the vehicle of communicating it to them is expensive. Other means of reaching out with the gospel is to sponsor missionary trips and outreaches, pay flight tickets and hotel accommodation.
Giving to these funds is a holy responsibility, and your reward in heaven is determined by how much you take it up. Your eternal reward is hampered if you don’t take it seriously. Eternity will be based on how you manage your God given resources. The righteous are those who have spent appropriately what God has given them. To lay up treasures in heaven is to invest in these funds commissioned by God. The things you do here on earth affect your eternal destiny. It is unwise and short-sighted to spend it all on you. Our live will be measured by what we do for other people not ourselves. Live your life as if there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. This is a message to the rich and all who aspire to be rich.
The treasures of heaven are God’s people!