In our daily meditations, we are thinking about the rewards a believer in Christ receives when Jesus comes, and this evil age is at an end. Jesus said that we should not store up treasure on earth, but store up our treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19). What do you think are things that you can take with you to heaven? I am sure this is not a comprehensive list, but three thoughts come to mind.
1) We can take other people that we have helped find eternal life during our lives.
2) The things we have learned, e.g., the Word of God imprinted on our hearts.
3) The character of Christ molded by the Holy Spirit into your inner being.
Storing up this kind of treasure should cause us to think through what we are building with our time, energy, talents, and money. There is an interesting parable Jesus taught in Luke 19:11-27, about a nobleman who left on a far journey to receive for himself a kingdom. Before he departed, knowing that it will be sometime before he got back, he gave each of his ten servants an amount of money, a mina, which was about three months' wages for a laborer. He told each of them to engage in business by putting the money to work until the nobleman returned. The Greek word translated by the phrase "put this money to work" (NIV) or "occupy" (KJV) is pragmateuomai. It means to do business, to invest, or trade with the thought of bringing a return to the nobleman on the investment. We get the word pragmatic from this Greek word. To be pragmatic with what we are building means to deal sensibly and realistically with something. We are to sit down and think through ways that we can pragmatically invest our resources in such a way as to get the maximum return for the kingdom of God.
Knowing the character of our Nobleman, King Jesus, we should labor and invest in the things that He has on His heart. That which He cares most about is people—we must have a heart of compassion for the people around us if we are to build with gold, silver or precious stones (1 Corinthians 3:12). In the parable, the first steward invested and put the master's money to work and brought a return of ten minas for his one mina. The response from the Nobleman was for the steward to not only keep the ten minas but he was also rewarded with ten cities. In this passage, we see a vast difference between what was invested and the prize for the faithful labor.
I think the cities are metaphorical language to help us understand that for what we do for Christ in this sinful world, i.e., how we care for the people for whom He cares, there will be a vast difference between what we invest and the reward given on that Day. I don't know what the prize will be, but I can wait to find out. Our duty and privilege are to put our hands to the plow for our Noble Master using our time, energy, and resources for the growth of His Kingdom. As Christians, we are strangers and pilgrims in this world and should be looking ahead to Christ's coming Kingdom.
Again, if you have believed and placed your trust in Christ, you will enter the eternal kingdom. Your entrance into the Kingdom of God does not depend on your works, but by receiving the gift of God—salvation in Christ, and with eternity in view, we should do what we can by investing our resources into people.
Prayer: Father, cause us to be aware that every day is a preparation for eternity. Help us to be open to the ways that You want to teach us and prepare us for that day. Thank You for watching over us until that day comes. Amen. Keith Thomas