Earthly Loss, Heavenly Gain
Sell all your possessions . . . and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me (Luke 18:22).
What is the most valuable thing in your life? Some would say family—a spouse, children or parent. Others would list career, education or material possessions. Those struggling with sickness would likely say that health tops the list. Jesus illustrated this same question with two tiny parables (Matthew 13:44).
He told of two people who stumbled upon treasures. In both tales the message is the same: Our relationship with Jesus is of such great value that we ought to be prepared to give everything we have in order to possess it (vv.44,46).
Now it’s important not to misapply these parables. We have nothing of value that we can offer to God (Isaiah 64:6). We can’t buy our way into heaven, for our salvation is “a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8). But Scripture does speak of our salvation as a ‘come [and] buy’ transaction of divine grace (Isaiah 55:1 NIV; Matthew 13:44; Revelation 3:18). I exchange my unrighteousness for Jesus’ righteousness (2 Corinthians 2:21; Philippians 3:9). His life for my life (John 10:10; Romans 6:8; Galatians 2:20). I can’t have treasure above unless I give up my treasures here below. The rich young ruler in Luke 18:17 wasn’t prepared to sell all his earthly possessions in order to have treasure in heaven (v.22). So he went away very sad (v.23).
Both men in Matthew 13:44 knew the great risks they were taking in liquidating all their assets. They weren’t wrong in assessing what is truly valuable (Philippians 3:7). Missionary Jim Elliot confidently said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Consider Moses’ example in Hebrews 11:24. What enabled him to ‘sell’ all that he had on earth to have treasure in heaven?
What things are you struggling to release into God’s hands? What will happen if you let them go?