Randy Alcorn, in his book The Treasure Principle talks about an eternal perspective that lives like this isn’t all there is. He coaches us to have our eyes on what’s ahead, not on what is here. One of his examples in his 4th chapter includes pretending that we are in France and staying in a hotel. We aren’t going to stay, but are going to head back to the United States. We can’t take the things we accumulate with us, but the money we earn can be sent back to the States. If that were the case, we wouldn’t spend money and time on decorating the hotel room. We would send most of our money ahead of our departure.
That’s just how it is with storing up our treasures in the eternal coffers, not the earthly ones. We get it, but we don’t. We want to be used by God, but we just have so much to do here. That includes earning a living, raising a family and having time for rest and refreshing. And that takes most of our time and money. So how can we possibly think about living a different way? Part of it has to do with our mindset related to Heaven and eternity.
Our lives are a finite dot and eternity is an infinite dash of time. I believe at least the 1000 year reign of Jesus will include us living as citizens in the Kingdom of God with resurrected bodies and what we do here impacts what we do there. We just won’t be strumming harps but fully utilizing the gifts that God imparted us with. How much we store up in eternal treasures will go with us in that Kingdom. Even a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name will be rewarded, let alone a life sold out to Jesus with many such acts.
What we do here matters and one day we will be thankful for every Bible study we attended, every act of service we attempted in the name of Jesus, and every Bible verse memorized. Alcorn calls this “Living for the Dash.”
But there are roadblocks to living this way, otherwise we’d all be accomplishing much more in the name of Jesus and His Kingdom. Alcorn lists things like unbelief, insecurity, pride, idolatry and a desire for power and control that keeps us from giving more and from living for the dash. Unbelief has a lot of siblings. Let’s name some of them: worry, fear, doubt, and lack of trust. Those things lead to self pity, despair and spiritual inactivity. We’re too busy spinning in circles to move ahead. We’re also too busy thinking about ourselves to think about serving the King. In Jeremiah 2:13 God scolds the Israelites by telling them that they have rejected Him, the fountain of living water and have made leaky containers instead that hold no water. That’s idolatry–turning to things other than Jesus to fill the holes in our heart that only Jesus is intended to fill. We can’t fill it with shopping, food, kids or friends.
When the Bible says in Psalm 23 that “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (need anything)” it is true. God leads us beside still waters, He holds us in the palm of His hand, and He takes care of our tomorrow. He even writes the script of our lives. If we are really in charge of our lives and not God, then when things don’t go the way we think they should go we spin. We worry, fret and control. We use money to provide a facade of security even though it’s a house of straw. We certainly wouldn’t want to give money to things that don’t benefit us, we have to hold on to it to take care of ourselves. That’s if self is on the throne of our hearts. The issue of money hits at who is Lord of our lives. If Jesus is Lord and sits on our heart’s throne, then we realize what we have is His, not ours.
The anecdote? Take God at His word. Trust Him. Find your joy in Him, not in anything else. When the disciples worried about where they were going to get bread, Jesus rebuked them for having hard hearts and called them “O ye of little faith.” He didn’t say “Oh, poor dear.” He said to Peter “Get thee behind me Satan, you are setting your interests on yourself not on God’s interests,” in Matthew 16:23. And He called Peter a hinderance. Ouch.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. When we worry, don’t trust and take things into our own hands, it is sin. It is a tug of war, but the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the power available to us to overcome. Our goal isn’t just to overcome, it is to move ahead in Jesus name. It is to obey God and to let Him take care of the consequences of our obedience.
And when we do? We will have stored up treasure in Heaven where moth and rust cannot corrupt. The Dow Jones average won’t impact it, nor will our aging bodies and minds.