Recently, I read in the newspaper that with a net of worth of $29 billion (more than Rs. 1,32,000 crore), industrialist Mukesh Ambani remains the richest Indian. He is the world’s fourth richest, according to Forbes. But, is he the fourth richest or the fourth poorest person in the sight of the Living God?
People generally think those who possess abundant wealth and gain everything that is in the world are really the blessed ones. This may be true in a sense. However, God judges things quite different from people. The rich and poor on earth are not viewed by God in the same way as we do. In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus said, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
Take a note here - those who store up things for themselves are not rich toward God. They are not the blessed ones in His sight. They are, in actual fact, impoverished and destitute. Conversely, those who give and share are considered rich before God, however poor they may be in the sight of the world. Did not Jesus say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive?” (Acts 20:35) It is not receiving which is the best test of blessing and reward but giving.
Store Eternal Treasures in Heaven
Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
Do not store up for yourselves 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).
Paul exhorted the rich to "lay up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed" (1 Timothy 6:19).
The Holy Scripture teaches us that our central focus should be on God and eternity, storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Randy Alcorn dialogues, “Consider what Jesus is saying: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” Why not? Because earthly treasures are bad? No. Because they won’t last.” It is written, “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Pro. 23:5).
So, how can we become rich forever? How do we store up for ourselves great treasures in heaven?
Well, it is obviously by giving. Jesus said, "Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven!" (Luke 12:33, NLT). The eternally rich in the Kingdom of God are those who are generous on earth. God taught that the eternal things are more valuable than the temporal and the way we store great treasure in eternity is by generously giving up temporal things.
Coming to practical lives, how people of God consistently labor to amass great wealth and material things on earth! But at the hour of death do they take anything with them? Thrice it is emphasized in the Holy Scriptures that we came naked and go naked, for we brought nothing into the world and we certainly take nothing out of it. All our laborious earning will be left behind when we face the reality of death (Job 1:21; Ecclesiastes 5:15; 1 Timothy 6:7).
Now this is not to say that it is wrong to attain and save money and material things. But if we do not add generous giving to our laborious gaining and saving, everything is going to be in vain. Such people will be paupers in the Kingdom of God, for they have abundantly gained and stored without abundant giving.
Here is a true story of a man who has become radically rich forever:
C T Studd was the greatest cricketer of his day. While he was in Cambridge in 1882, the Australian Cricket team was shattered because Studd scored 101 runs and took eight wickets. His father was wealthy. So he had everything a young man want - wealth, fame, name and education. But one day he accepted the claims of Christ in his life and he became a believer and later became a missionary for Christ. While Studd was engaged in missionary work, his father died and left him more than 25,000 pounds. It was a great worth in his day.
But when he read in the Bible the words of Jesus to a rich young man: "Go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven" (Mark 10:21 KJV), Studd sat down and made out some cheques – 5,000 pounds to Moody, 5,000 pounds to General Booth of Salvation Army, 5,000 pounds to George Mueller, 5,000 pounds to White chapel Mission and another 5 cheques each of 1,000 pounds. When the Estate was finally settled he discovered he still possessed 3,400 pounds. He offered this money to his wife. She refused to accept it. He wrote to General Booth, "I am instructing our bankers to sell our last earthly inheritance and to give them to you; hence forth our bank is in heaven. Now we can thank God that we are in the proud position of being able to say, 'Silver and gold have I none'."
People might have called C T Studd a fool for such an act of liberal giving. Yet in heaven's sight he was wiser and rich in God. He is like a person about whom Jim Elliot (1927-56), a missionary and martyr to Acua Indians, said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose." We may not be as liberal as C T Studd but are we seeking to live a life of generosity in this age crazy for prosperity? When we all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, all of us have to stand before Him utterly stripped of money and material things. We take nothing with us and stand naked before our God to give an account for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).
I suppose, many would mourn on that day for neglecting to use their earthy things according to God's Word and leaving back everything in vain. Oh, in heaven, no person will be greatly rewarded for what he received but for what he gave. We may loose by saving, but by giving we will not loose anything but store eternal riches in heaven. In the Kingdom of God, the looser over here will be a gainer and the possessor over here will be a looser.
1) Generous giving doesn’t earn salvation. Good works in itself cannot save anyone. We are saved solely by the finished work of Christ on the Cross. But great will be the reward of those in heaven who did abundant good works in Christ.
2) The Sermon on the Mount teaches bad intentions nullify good deeds. In the practice of generous giving, we must guard ourselves from falling into hypocrisy, giving in order to be noticed by men and to gain honor from them than with a purpose to glorify the Father in Heaven.
3) Generous giving ought to be practiced wisely. We need to examine and give where the genuine need is and bless the truly needy people. And when it comes to the support of missions and leaders, make sure they are truly laborers in the field, not sluggish and time wasters in the name of full-time ministry.
 Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001), 12
 Adapted from Herald of His Coming (Indian Edition), July 2003, 10
 Cited by Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor (ILL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1981), 3
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