“Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” —Proverbs 23:5
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-21; Proverbs 8:10-21
Our time, effort, energy, money, ideas, and hope can only be placed in one of two areas: heaven or earth. Everything we do is a deposit in the bank of life, and every deposit indicates our priorities. No matter what we do—mowing the lawn, daily devotions, words we speak, judgments we make—we’re investing in our eternal destiny.
What’s difficult about this principle is discerning what really counts and what doesn’t. As Paul said, all thing are lawful for us, but not all things are expedient. It’s okay to watch T.V., as long as it doesn’t become a god or we watch immoral programs; it’s acceptable to keep our cars clean, as long as they don’t become the center of our attention; we’re commanded to provide for our families, so long as work doesn’t take over our lives. When anything comes between us and God, then we’re investing in the temporary treasure of earthly rewards and self-satisfaction.
How can we know if our priorities are misplaced? A prayerful, honest, personal inventory should tell us. What consumes most of our thoughts—God, family, or work? How do we enjoy spending most of our time—in our favorite hobby or with the Lord in prayer and meditation? What do we look forward to more than anything—a big paycheck or serving our neighbor anonymously?
The interesting aspect of this verse passage is that godly change depends on outward change. Too often we believe that if we get people’s hearts then we’ll get their loyalty, their commitment, and even their money. But, this passage indicates that if we can get their pocketbook first, then we can get their heart, too. It isn’t that works alone produce spiritual transformation, but works operate in conjunction with inner transformation. As Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
- What type of earthly treasures can we invest our time, energy, and resources in? What warnings do we have against investing and trusting in earthly treasures? Luke 12:13-21; Matthew 6:19-21; Psalm 62:10; Proverbs 28:20; Mark 4:19.
- Discuss the following scriptures regarding earthly treasures and their eternal value. Psalm 49:10; Proverbs 23:5; 27:24; Ecclesiastes 2:18; 5:10; 1 Timothy 6:7-10.
- What riches should Christians seek? Proverbs 8:10-21; 13:7; John 6:27; Ephesians 1:7; 2:7; 3:8; Hebrews 11:26; James 2:5; Matthew 6:33.
- What is our final reward for investing in heavenly treasures? John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 11:8-10; Revelation 22:14; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4.
- Why is it important to understand that the stewardship of our time, energy, and resources indicates the condition of our heart? Matthew 6:21; 12:34-37; James 1:22-25; 4:11-17; Revelation 3:17.
- Can we change the condition of our heart and a desire for earthly treasures simply by changing our actions? Why? Romans 3:19-20; Proverbs 20:9; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-5.
- As Christians, if the desires of our heart aren’t consistent with the Word, how do we change our desires? Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:4; John 6:28-29; 12:46; Psalm 1:1-2; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:22-24.
This week, spend a few moments throughout each day writing down how you spend your time, what you talk about, and what you think about. Compare the amount of time you spend for yourself and for God. If there’s any area you’re not investing in eternally, adjust your schedule so your time is spent making heavenly investments. Remember, your actions will only change as your faith in Jesus grows.