Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
NOTE: These statistics are from 1991 when I first wrote this message. I am sure they are much higher in 2022.
For the year 1991, according to an old copy of U.S. Citizenship, a consumer reporting magazine, we Americans spent the following:
- 2.5 billion – chewing gum
- 4.9 billion – movies
- 12 billion – candy
- 20 billion – cosmetics
- 30 billion – diet industry (exercise equip, salons, workouts, meds, etc)
- 40 billion – travel
- 40 billion – soft drinks
- (remember – 2.5 billion – chewing gum)
At the same time all the U.S. Churches, Catholic, Protestants of every denomination spent 2.5 billion on Missions.
It is interesting to note that at the same time the following statistics are available – this time they come from the Bible
- 272 references to ‘BELIEVE’ – Most recognized of course is:
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
How many have a problem or a question with believing? Not many. We readily accept the premise that if we believe, we are saved, we have a home in heaven, and we have eternal life. Some have even laid down their lives for their belief in God. We obey God in confession of sin and try our best to follow Him in newness of life.
- 371 references to ‘PRAYER’ – Most recognized of course is:
Matthew 6:9 – In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Most people do not have a problem with prayer. Most people pray whether they will admit to it or not. Prayer changes things and most people around the world pray to someone or some thing. Prayer is universal…it’s woven into the fabric of mankind. We all pray. If you pray and believe in the power of prayer, no matter how hopeless the situation is, then God releases His power through our obedience in praying and the situation changes, lives change, hopeless causes are no longer hopeless anymore.
- 714 references to ‘LOVE’ – Most recognized of course is I Corinthians 13 – We refer to it as the “Love Chapter.” The first verse states:
1 Corinthians 13 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And the last verse states:
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Most people, especially those exposed to the Christian faith, do not have a problem with the thought of “Godly love”. Putting it into action is quite another thing. Do you love God? If you say you do, then His love should manifest outward from you and to all around you.
If you love as Christ loved, in obedience to His word, going the second mile, turning the other cheek, then love in action turns the tide. You will have obeyed God and “the good deeds done by righteous men will reap eternal rewards.”
- 2,172 references to GIVING/POSSESSIONS – Most recognized probably
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
The question is then: with so many references to giving and to our possessions, why do we fail to grasp its meaning?
The same is true of our possessions and our giving. But we have so many hang-ups about our possessions. None of which can we take with us. No U-Hauls behind the hearse. We get and get and do not give as God asks us to give. He asks us to offer ourselves, our lives, our very being as gifts to the world. To anyone who asks…He says give.
There are biblical principals involved in obedience to giving. Giving of time, self, possessions, finances, talents. Giving to bless someone, not giving to get. We say we believe the principles of God’s Word when it comes to giving but do we really practice it?
Some in the Christian world have just closed their minds to any kind of giving unless there is an immediate return for them.
Just as easy as it is for us to believe, pray, and love, we ought to give to God’s work, God’s kingdom, God’s creation whoever, wherever, whatever they are or might be.