Summary: How can we invest our Treasures in Heaven?
You Can Take it With You
The Time was over one hundred years ago, at the very beginning of the great Klondike Gold Rush. Two prospectors, among the very first to travel north, in 1896, came to the Yukon Territory of Canada to hunt for their gold.
They knew the risks were high as there were no developed settlements around for many, many miles, and they had only each other and their wisdom to keep them from death in the Great White North.
But they took their chances, and with meager supplies, and began to dig for gold. And the two found more than they had ever hoped for.
But Winter Was Coming! And they were in the Yukon, right by the northern part of Alaska. They knew no one would come up to mine until Winter ended, but when they did, there would be a lot of competition. Do they seek shelter for the winter, with the millions of dollars worth of gold they had already dug up, or do they stay in the tundra and keep digging, even though they were pretty unprepared in terms of food and shelter where they were?
Well, they turned out to be right about their fear that a great many people would travel to the Yukon in the spring. About 100,000 traveled up. And when the first wave of prospectors came, the two men were found lying dead on top of piles of millions of dollars worth of gold.
One of the two left a scratched out letter warning those who followed them not to make the same mistake they made of letting their greed for abundance in this world blind them of wisdom.
This, as you can imagine is not an isolated incident; or the only time in human history where greed blinded people from wisdom. There are stories of pirates who, when they found gold on a small island with no food, tore their ship apart to use it for digging tools, only to have their dead bodies found years later next to their half rebuilt ship.
Romans believed that items that you were buried with would accompany you to the next world, so they would leave coins on top of the eyes of their loved ones to pay the ferryman to get them across the river Styx to their eternal destination.
Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs were buried with great quantities of treasure so that they could take it with them into the next world. Some Asian princes even had their servants buried alive with them so they could serve them in the next life.
Solomon struggled with this on a different level. He knew the impossibility of taking things with him, he wasn’t worried about that so much as he was very concerned and frustrated with what was going to happen to his kingdom after Rehoboam became King.
2:18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is VANITY!
Vanity is best understood as “vapor” or a mist that cannot be grasped. Even if we amass great wealth in this world, we cannot keep it, truly grasp it, and make it our own. We can only “rent” it.
With a eye on the futility of trying to hold on to the material, our Gospel lesson brings us part of a sermon Jesus gave on just this subject. How should a Christian live in relation to money and talents?
Interestingly, Jesus says to us in a way in which the world cannot understand, that- YOU CAN TAKE IT WITH YOU!
Now before everyone grabs stones and get ready to rush the pulpit, I’ll explain what I mean.
I want to first look at our Gospel lesson in the light of Christ’s words in Luke’s account of this sermon from Luke Chapter 12:32-34. Sometimes there are interesting additions when you compare parallel accounts in the Gospels.
32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The first thing that should catch your eye in these three verses, ….. a verse which is often missed, so it’s on your cover...is verse 32.
“It is Our Father’s good pleasure to entrust His kingdom, his church, to the likes of us.” That really is an awesome thought when you personalize it.