YOU CAN TAKE IT WITH YOU
By Eddie Hedges
No, the title is not an error. We have all heard the comment “You cannot take it with you.” I must admit, as a former banker, that whenever there was a death of a customer, their money was still in their account after the funeral. I have never seen a withdrawal from a checking account for the purpose of “use in the hereafter”. But I want to show you how you can take it with you.
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth”, Luke 12:15 KJV.
To covet means to long to possess something that belongs to another, to desire unreasonably or unlawfully, or to be excessively eager for gain. The Scripture basically says, “Do not be greedy. Do not desire worldly things. Real life is not in our possessions.” We are to guard our hearts against this, according to this verse of Scripture. To guard is to protect, and in this case, guard our hearts against coveting. So, how then are we going to take it with us?
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt,
and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in
heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break
through nor steal; for where your treasures is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV).
So the question is, “Where is your heart?” Is it on worldly things or on heavenly things? I believe these verses state that if your heart is right, you can take it with you by “building your treasures in heaven.” Think about this, if you use your worldly assets to build treasures in heaven, is that not taking it with you? I must admit, I do not know what the treasures in heaven are or will be, but I want them. Only God knows what treasures we are building in heaven, but His treasures are greater than what we can imagine or envision.
The next question is, “How do we build our treasures in heaven?” I think the answer comes from 1 Timothy 6:17-20 (KJV), “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who giveth us richly all this to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute (share), willing to communicate. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy (substitute your name for Timothy), keep that which is committed to thy trust.”
Verse 17 says to instruct and command “them that are rich in this world” to not be arrogant and full of pride because you are rich. Your riches are unstable and uncertain and can be gone in an instant. But we are to trust in God, who has given us all things to enjoy. God gives us things, including money for our enjoyment, provided we keep those things in their proper place in our relationship with God. Think about this, what gives you the most pleasure in life? Is it not when you do something for another individual? Does that not make you feel really good? Look at what Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV) says, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Only God could come up with a plan where the more you give, the more you are blessed. This is an amazing life application principle.
Look again at verse 18 from 1 Timothy 6, “(1) That they do good, (2) that they be rich in good works, (3) ready to distribute, (4) willing to communicate. If we do these things—what are we promised? We are promised that we may lay hold on life in heaven. That we are laying up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come and we are building our “treasures in heaven.”
Now look at a challenge from verse 20: “keep that which is committed to thy trust.” A trustee is a person who holds and manages property or possessions for another person. In this case, we are trustees for God. We can take it with us by doing those things, with our money, talents, and time, which will help others and will help build God’s Kingdom. We are to do things that will have a lasting benefit on the lives of people, even for generations to come after we have gone to be with the Lord, and that will build treasures in heaven that will last for eternity.
There are so many unique ways we can build our treasures in heaven that it would be virtually impossible to start listing them. They are unique in that each of us will have individual areas in which we can contribute that are in accordance with our own personal beliefs, interests, skills, and talent. But we can go back to the general items God listed in 1 Timothy 6 to get some ideas.
- Lead someone to Jesus—who, in turn, might lead another to Jesus. Share your faith and testimony.
- Teach Godly principles to your children and grandchildren. Then they will teach Godly principles to their children and grandchildren. Willing to communicate and that they do good.
- Use your money to help others in need or to further God’s Kingdom. Ready to distribute and rich in good works. This category is unlimited to the potential needs.
- Use your spiritual gifts and talents to glorify God. Perhaps by teaching a class, leading a Bible study, or singing in the choir. Willing to communicate and that they are rich in good works.
- Live a lifestyle that promotes Godliness—I would rather see a sermon that hear one. Make your daily life, work, or job a ministry. That they do good and that they be rich in good works.
The possibilities are unlimited. We just need to watch, listen, and be available. The seeds you plant today may not bear fruit for many years—maybe not even in your lifetime. Plant the seeds anyway and that will bring glory and honor to God.
I really hope you grasp the message I am trying to convey. Think of it like savings and investing for your retirement. You are taking assets you have today and saving them and the return on your investment for future use. In this case, it will be for that time when you have gone to heaven.
Consider this concerning building your treasures in heaven. If your actions on this earth are for the Lord and your investments are for your future in heaven, your actions now will continue in the lives of others after you have gone to be with the Lord. Will those investments not continue to build your treasures in heaven, even though you are no longer here on earth? You are, in effect, investing the principal in heaven and the investment or heavenly treasures will continue to compound throughout eternity. To me, this is exciting.
Your Spiritual Legacy
I would like to take you into the future and assume you are attending your own funeral. You are there in spirit and no one knows you are there.
Imagine if you will, what it will be like. What do you want said about you? How do you want to be eulogized? Do you want to be remembered as a good spouse and parent, a good provider for your family, and a generous and caring person? Will the preacher’s job be easy or difficult to say nice and comforting words about you? Will he say your integrity was without question and that you loved the Lord and served Him faithfully?
I feel that this is how everyone wants to be remembered—not as mean, selfish, uncaring, or dishonest. The way you want to be remembered after you are gone is how you should live your life while you are on this earth. This sets your goals for your life. Philippians 4:8 KJV says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Are the character issues listed here not how you want to be remembered and do they not build “treasures in heaven”? Look again at the characteristics listed in this Scripture: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. We are to be truthful or trustworthy, honest and righteous, have purity of thought, speech, and deeds, be loving, and conduct ourselves so that good things are said about us.
When you go to be with the Lord and your family is going through your possessions, what will they find from your books, magazines, receipts, and bank statements? Will they not reveal where your heart was? Will they reveal godliness or worldliness? When your family goes through your Bible, will they find it marked and worn from use or will they find it unused and covered with dust?
What kind of legacy will you leave? Please consider the difference between a legacy and an inheritance. In Leadership Promises for Your week, John Maxwell (Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2007) states, “An inheritance is something you leave to someone. But the legacy you leave is something you leave in someone.” What are you leaving in your family or the people that you come in contact with throughout your life? I personally believe that in everything you are involved, family, work, religious activities, social activities, and relationships should be better because you were a part. Was it better because of your involvement?
When our life on this earth is done, we may leave our physical assets here, but we can take what those assets produce with us. When we do this, we will build “treasures in heaven,” so we can take it with us and have it for eternity.
Eddie Hedges is the author of THE HEART OF FINANCIAL MATTERS, SEEKING A SERVANT’S HEART. Portions of this article were taken from the book. For more articles and information by Eddie Hedges, please visit my website, www.authorwebservices-gem.net/Authorsxpress/Author.