“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NLT)
What a word Jesus spoke here! As I read this, I think about all of the people who lost their life savings in the Bernie Madoff scandal. For years and years, they were storing up treasures, only to find out that the one they trusted to invest their money was in reality, living off their money and investing in no one but himself. People were outraged, angry and saddened to discover they had nothing after all of those years of investing.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I don’t sympathize with these people, because I do, and I certainly don’t want you to think that I excuse what Bernie Madoff did, because there was no excuse for his lying and thievery.
However, I also have to point out that one thing I’ve learned in life is that if something seems too good to be true, it’s usually a scam. Also, while I sympathize with the people who lost millions of dollars, I’d like to pose a question. Is it possible that it was not Bernard Madoff who deceived them, but their own greed?
While I listened to people who had been cheated out of their life savings on television, I was saddened for them on a couple of different levels. Firstly, it pained me to see their hurt and fear, caused by the loss of their life savings. Where before, they had such confidence and their plans and goals for retirement set before them, now they were fearful of what the future would bring… You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:21 NLT) It seemed that their treasures were stored up here on earth, and thieves had broken in and stolen it, leaving them penniless and without hope.
This brings me to the other reason I was saddened by this scandal. Many, no most of the people I saw who were personally affected by this scam were filled with bitterness and anger, because they felt that Bernie Madoff had stolen their future and all of their hope. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) How sad to think that their only treasure was the money that they had saved – the money that was stolen from them.
Beloved, what is it that you treasure? I realize that we all need money for paying bills, buying food, clothing and paying for a roof over our heads, but did you ever stop to think of what you would do if you lost it all? Who would you turn to?
I’ve had reason to think about these very things over the last few months, since I’ve been out of work on short-term disability. As soon as I received word that I would not be able to return to work until the doctor released me to full duty, I realized that I would not be able to pay for my car anymore, so I turned it into the bank that had financed it.
They were shocked, because I had a high credit rating, and I had never missed a payment, and they were very kind to me, but the fact remained that I could no longer afford to make payments on this car with no income. Now I have to tell you, I really liked my car. It was a 2010 Ford Fusion and it was loaded! It had leather interior, ambient lighting, sync – the works! It was the first car that I ever had that was exactly what I wanted, and I really, really, really liked it. And yet, as much as I liked my car, I can honestly tell you that I didn’t love it. You see, I enjoyed it while I had it, but it wasn’t hard for me to let it go, because that’s not where my treasure is. 🙂
The late Corrie Ten Boom once said to Chuck Swindoll, “I’ve learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!” I like that, because it is true.
So now, I find myself having to trust in the Lord to supply for my husband’s and my needs, because I don’t have a steady income coming in now… But really, when I was working full-time, isn’t that what I was doing anyway? He was the one who provided me with the job and the skills necessary to do my job, so you see, my employer wasn’t the one taking care of me – God was.
And now, I really get to see how He is providing for my needs, and you know what? I’m not starving and we still have a roof over our heads. In fact, I’ve watched the Lord move people to help me, without me having to say a word about my circumstances. You see, He is my treasure, and though my circumstances seem bad, (my back is in almost constant pain and my finances are a wreck right now) He has been using this for my good. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
You see, early on He told me that these physical issues I’m dealing with are not an attack from the devil. He is using this to answer my prayers. I was the one who prayed that I would be able to pay all of my debts off (and thanks to an unsolicited gift from someone who loves me, I hope to be entirely debt free in the next couple of weeks), and this is His answer to that prayer. I was also the one who prayed for more time to devote to Him, to minister full-time and to write a book.
Every one of my prayers are being answered, so I can’t feel sorry for myself because of the pain I feel, or because we don’t have any extra money. My God is providing for all of my needs. 🙂
Therefore brothers and sisters in the Lord, be encouraged, and don’t store up earthly treasures. They will only rot or corrode, or get stolen from you. Instead, Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. (Colossians 3:2 NLT)… And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 NLT)