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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Storing Up Treasure Here or There?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:19-21


For years this portion of scripture had a certain meaning and it was understood by all who called themselves Christian. It meant that we are not to spend our time accumulating wealth but rather investing in eternal things by putting ourselves out there for God and neighbor--loving those who are difficult to love, forgiving those who persecute or hate us, helping those in need, sharing the truth of the gospel.. that sort of thing. Certainly no honest reading of the entire portion in context would reveal that Jesus was telling his followers to get on board the environmentalist train. Christianity in Jesus day--the One who it is supposed to be about--that Jesus-- had NOTHING to do with ANY political movement. It had principally to do with repenting of sin and putting one's trust in Christ for salvation of the soul leading to life with Christ in the kingdom of Heaven, after life on this earth was over. It had to do with love of God and neighbor.

Now there is some small amount of room for Christians who say that caring for the land IS caring for the people--in some respects that will make sense. However there is no biblical compulsion at all to invest oneself saving the earth rather than saving souls. The earth is understood by Christians to be a not our home.

"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:19)

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." (John 17:14)

1 Peter 2:11-12 "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

Philippians 3:20 "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ"



I recall Al Gore using Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


in one of the debates against George Bush years ago to tell people that he believed in storing up his treasure on earth--in caring for the earth as his ultimate value. Those of us who actually believe the Bible's message the way it was intended to be understood were appalled at his twisting of the scripture to back up his beliefs rather than conforming himself to what Christ taught. This however is what much of the church has come to in these days. If you believe something just get the Bible to back you up--never mind the idea of actually following the teachings of Christ the way He meant them. You can now call yourself Christ's follower and twist His words any way you like.

What he did was effectively to take that scripture and use it to say just about the opposite of what it is supposed to say.

Yes God did tell us as men (people) to have dominion over the earth, to tend our own land,(as stewards/owners) etc.. but no He never told us to invest ourselves so much in the earth that Heaven became second in our minds. If Heaven is not first--then you are not a Christian. That is 'the kingdom' that Jesus rules--the Kingdom of Heaven, not the kingdom of this earth. God never told Christians to be concerned with stopping the earth from any kind of destruction-- man made or not.

You can't make this case in an honest reading of scripture. You can only do it the way Al Gore did by taking the words of God out of context and twisting them to mean what you want them to say.

If you are concerned about global warming or a coming ice age or whatever disaster may come-- remember, there is still a God and His purposes will stand no matter what puny man does or doesn't do. The Earth will stand until God is finished with it--or He is not God at all.

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