Where is Your Heart?

Part 2



Dr. John Hoole – July 2 & 9, 2017



“You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.”  Preachers and teachers have used this old saying for years to explain a simple fact:  You can’t take anything with you when you die.  The fact of the matter is, there is one thing that follows you to heaven.


Revelation 14:13 NKJV


13      Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."


                   Our works, our acts of righteousness, follow us to heaven.


It is true that no one can bring material wealth into eternity.  What you have will not change your circumstances when you die.


Psalms 49:16-17 NKJV


16     Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased;

17     For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him.


While it is true that you and I cannot take it with us, we can, however, send it on ahead.  And that is what we are learning from the Sermon on the Mount.


Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV


19     Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;

20     but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

21     For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Again, “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.”


Anything we try to hang on to here will be lost.  But anything we put into God’s hands will be ours for eternity.  Any treasures we store up in heaven, will be waiting for us when we arrive.  Don’t ask how your investment will be paying off in just thirty years.  Ask how it will be paying off in thirty million years.


So, the question is:




Let’s break this down further.




We all know that it is easy to lay up treasures on earth.  We all live here, and know what they are.  It is probably obvious that the treasures on earth lie in the realm of persons, places and things.  In other words, the tangible, the material - these are the treasures of earth.


Because we are human, we must use these tangible things.  Our Lord never says that we should run away from the use of earthly things.  But Jesus does not want these earthly things to be where we put our trust and confidence.  They are not to be the source of our security and happiness.


You see this later in this section of the Sermon on the Mount - in verse 32, where Jesus says, “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things” (NAS).


In the Greek New Testament, there is no difference in the use of the word “Gentile” or the word “pagan.”  In some of your Bible translations (NIV), this verse says “pagans” instead of “gentiles”.  Jesus is saying that the pagan - the man of the world - the one who does not have God in his conscience he seeks after things.


The root Greek word translated here as Gentile, is also used earlier in chapter six and translated as “heathen.”


Matthew 6:7 NKJV


7       And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.


You only need to flip through the latest issue of any magazine to see how fully this is substantiated.  The world is concerned about the accumulation of things.  You could more correctly say - consumed with the accumulation of things and possessions.


Robert Louis Stevenson said:


         The world is so full of a number of things, I think we should all be happy as kings.”


That reflects exactly the philosophy of the world – that “things” make men happy.  But Jesus said in another place (Luke 12:15), “A man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things which he possesses.”  Again, Jesus is highlighting the false philosophy of the world.


We all know what the treasures of earth are – our car, our house, our clothing the realm of human relationships – our position -- the job we hold, or hope to get -- the favor and praise of others.


And that takes us to the second part of Jesus’ command - to lay up treasures in heaven.  In this Passage, Jesus is serving as an investment counselor for us.  His assumption is that all of us will have some concern about our future and will make investments for it.  And as our counselor, He wants to set us on the right course.


One of the key factors by which those who study human behavior measure maturity – or the change between childhood and adulthood, is the ability to defer or delay gratification.


Jesus is assuming that the people to whom He is speaking are storing up something for the future.  But the question is, are we storing up treasures on earth or treasures in heaven?  How far into the future does our concern go?


Jesus advocates storing up eternal treasures in heaven because they are so much more valuable than any treasures we can store up on earth.  He knows that both the deferment and the gratification are progressively increased.  As our wise investment counselor, Jesus reminds us that if we are committed to storing up material treasures that are valuable only in this life, we are making a foolish choice, because there is a wonderful alternative.


Consider what Jesus is saying: Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth.”  Why not?  Because earthly treasures are bad?  No.  Because they won’t last.


When Jesus warns us not to store up treasures on earth, it is not just because wealth might be lost.  It’s because wealth will always be lost.  Either it leaves us while we live, or we leave it when we die – No exceptions!




Jesus does not just tell us where not to put our treasures.  He also gives us the best investment advice you will ever get.  “Store up for yourself treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20).


Store up for yourself.  Wouldn’t that be selfish?  No.  God expects and commands us to act out of enlightened self-interest.  As John Piper puts it, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”


When I was in Bible school in the late 50’s, one of my professors made a statement that, for some reason, has stuck with me ever since.  He said, “measure all your activities - everything you do - in the light of eternity.”  The activities in which you are involved, and your motive for doing them, determine where your treasure resides.  We need to often ask the question: “Does what I am doing have eternal significance?”


Jesus is here speaking about using our God-given raw materials – our strength, skills, time energy and resources – according to the priorities set forth by God Himself.  It is terribly easy to devote ourselves to activities not remotely related to eternity.  We can live our entire lives without doing things that contribute to a heavenly treasure.


Can you view them having some measure of eternal value in them?  Or are they tied to this world philosophy?  In which case, they are prime candidates for moth and rust and thieves.  They are earthly, therefore only temporary.


I want to return to a verse we visited at the beginning of this lesson.


Revelation 14:13 NKJV


13      Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."


I want to make a few comments about this verse.  Some of them may be obvious.


1.      Notice this promise is only given to Christians – only those “who die in the Lord.”


The promise is not for unbelievers at all.  An unbeliever may accomplish great things and do lots of humanitarian deeds and leave behind a legacy to their life here on earth.  But not one thing they do on earth will follow them into eternity.  The reason is because good works do not gain a person’s salvation in Jesus Christ.


2.      Every single deed done for the glory and honor of Christ while we are here on earth will not only be REMEMBERED by Christ, but also be REWARDED.


The Bible tells us that God is intimately acquainted with the works of a believer.  To the church at Ephesus, as mentioned in Revelation 2:2, Christ said, “I know your works, your labor,…”


The apostle Paul wrote,


2 Timothy 4:7-8 NKJV


7       I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

8       Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.


Christ will reward us for every deed we did in His Name, for that which went totally unnoticed, and even that which we may have received No praise, No recognition, NO glory, NO thanks and NO appreciation.  He noticed all your acts of righteousness.


The LORD will reward you for every deed you did in public and in private that brought glory and honor to His Name.  That is true whether it was witnessed by many or witnessed by no one.  And it is true regardless of how small, how seemingly insignificant, or how seemingly meaningless.


We read in Hebrews 6:10 NKJV


10     For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.


3.      The Lord is going to remember good deeds you and I did here on earth that we have long since forgotten.  And He will reward us for those deeds.


There are two ways in which our works follow us.  Our focus so far has been on the rewards we receive in the presence of Jesus in Heaven.  But, our acts of obedience – sharing the gospel, teaching the Word, ministering to those in need – will also result in meaningful rewards here and now.  New believers enter the kingdom by your life and testimony.  Young converts grow into able disciples.  The feeble and poor are fed, clothed and sheltered.  And, even after your death, your works continue to multiply here on earth.


Every person who ever lived on this earth will receive a 7-word statement from Christ.  Either, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  Or, “Depart from Me.  I never knew you.”


What are the results of laying up treasures in Heaven for you personally?


1.      Power


Luke 19:15-19 tells us that if we invest what he has given us to increase the kingdom, you will be given positions of leadership.  You will have rulership over 10 cities (19:17)Or You will have rulership over 5 cities (19:19).


2.      Possessions (Treasures)


Jesus told the rich man who asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life, “sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven (Matthew 19:21).


3.      Pleasures


Psalms 16:11 NKJV


11     You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.


Jesus promised that those who sacrifice on earth will receive “a hundred times as much” in Heaven (Matthew 19:29).  That’s 10,000 percent increase – that’s an impressive return on our investment.


Of course, Christ Himself is our ultimate treasure.  All else pales in comparison to Him, and joy of knowing Him (Philippians 3:7-11).  A person, Jesus, is our first treasure.


A place, heaven, is our second treasure.  Possessions, eternal rewards, are our third treasure.  What person are you living for?  What place are you living for?  What possessions are you living for?


“Store up for yourself reassures in Heaven.  Why?  Because it’s right?  Not just that, but because it’s smart.




Someone found the following inscription on a Christian’s tombstone: “What I spent, I lost; What I saved, I left; What I gave, I still have.”  As we invest in the Kingdom of God, we assure for ourselves an eternal reward.


Having said that, I would now like to approach our discussion of the “Treasures of Heaven” along a different line of thought.  Keep in your thoughts that in Matthew 6, here, Jesus is acting as our investment counselor.


I have sat down with a number of investment counselors – probably many of you have as well.  Before they can provide us any valuable service, they always ask the potential client a number of questions.  Things like:


                   •        What are your future plans – your goals in life?

                                     •        Are you planning for the children’s college?

                                     •        Do you want a vacation home?

                                     •        Will you be doing some extensive travelling?

                                     •        Do you want your house to be paid off by retirement?

                   •        How long will it be before you need to draw on your investments?

                                     •        In other words, how much time will your investments have to grow?

                   •        What amount of risk are you willing to take with your investments?


Somewhere in the discussion will be the question: “What is the amount of assets that you are going to invest?” – Money, securities, insurance, properties.  And what liabilities will require your payment over the remainder of your life.  i.e.,  Home mortgage, insurance, car payments, etc.


As I thought about our assets, as it relates to “laying up treasures in heaven,” I asked myself the question: What personal assets do each of us have that we can invest in the Kingdom of God?  Or,    What investment capital do we have that will serve to lay up treasures in heaven?






I believe that each of us has at least 6 resources that form our “personal investment capital.”  and the proper use of this capital will lay up treasures in heaven.  You could probably think of others.


Let me give you the list first, then come back and apply them as Jesus says.


Each of us has these 6 assets – available for us to invest.


1.      Financial Resources

This is an obvious one to put at the top of our list.  That is a pretty literal interpretation of “treasure.”  In fact, when you look at the context of Matthew 6, this is the primary issue -- money and what that can buy.


Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)


         Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

         But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

         For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


According to Jesus, you can invest in yourself – and thereby “storing up treasures on earth,” or you can invest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Finances are an obvious part of our personal investment capital.




•        Giving to the poor (Matt 6:2-4)

•        Support for missions    

•        Local church ministries

•        Helping others during difficult times in their lives.


Proverbs 3:9  (NIV)


9       Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;


Money spent for missions or to help the poor or to aid some struggling student, money invested in some cause for Christ’s sake is never lost – never!   Paul speaks of “an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).


And after we give, we may forget it – in fact, it is best we do for earlier in Matthew 6, we learned that we are not to do our alms in public.  That is, do not even talk about it to yourself – forget it.  But God never forgets.


Of course, a gift benefits the recipient but according to the economy of God, when a gift is given with a proper attitude that is, given in a way that lays up treasures in heaven, then the giver benefits as much as the receiver.  In fact, Acts 20:35 tells us that “it is more blessed to give than receive.”


Above all else, giving to God, with a proper attitude in our heart, directs our attention and our hearts to Christ.  Matthew 6:21 tells us, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  When you give, “as unto the Lord,” your heart will automatically be drawn to the Lord.


Giving also develops our character to be more like Christ -- because the character of Christ is unselfish.  One of the key ways our character becomes conformed to Christ is by habitual giving.  Someone once said, Giving is not God’s way of raising money, it is God’s way of raising people into the likeness of His Son.”


Some of you may remember 60 years ago, when 5 missionary men were martyred by the Auca Indians in Equator, South America.  One of those missionaries was Jim Elliot.  Prior to his death, one of his most well-known statements is:


         “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”


That’s the thing about laying up treasures in heaven.  You never lose them -- you defer gratification – but only partially.


2.      Time and attention


An hour spent in visiting the sick or counseling the troubled or comforting the grieving ….. or cheering the lonely is never lost.  As we go through life, these contribute to “laying up treasures in heaven.”


Let me share with you an e-mail we received from Shannon Avery:


Several years ago, a young and very successful executive named Josh was traveling down a Chicago neighborhood street. He was going a bit too fast in his sleek, black, 12 cylinder Jaguar XKE, which was only two months old.  He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.


As his car passed, no child darted out, but a brick sailed out and  *WHUMP!*  It smashed into the Jag's shiny black side door! SCREECH!!!! Brakes slammed! Gears ground into reverse, and tires madly spun the Jaguar back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown.  Josh jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid and pushed him up against a parked car. He shouted at the kid, "What was that all about and who are you?   Just what in the world are you doing?" Building up a head of steam, he went on.   "That's my new Jag! That brick you threw is gonna cost you a lot of money!   Why did you throw it?!?!"


"Please, mister, please ... I'm sorry! I didn't know what else to do!,"  pleaded the youngster. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop!"   Tears were dripping down the boy's chin as he pointed around the parked car.  "It's my brother, mister," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell
out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair?   He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."


Moved beyond words, the young executive tried desperately to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat.   Straining, he lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that everything was going to be OK. He then watched the younger brother push him down the sidewalk toward their home.


It was a long walk back to the sleek, black, shining, 12 cylinder Jaguar XKE; a long and slow walk. Josh never did fix the side door of his Jaguar. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone who needs him has to throw a brick at him to get his attention.

1 Peter 4:2  (NIV) tells us that the person of God…


2       …should not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.


How you and I spend our time will determine what we lay up in store in heaven.  And this verse says, to paraphrase it, “Live the rest of your time to the will of God.”


Doing what God wants you to do in your life takes time and attention.  Let’s use our time to lay up treasures in heaven.  With regard to using our time to laying up treasures in heaven, Psalm 106:3 instructs us to do acts of righteousness at all times.  And Ephesians 5:16 tells us to redeem the time.


3.      Talents and learned skills


1 Peter 4:10  (NAS)


10     As each one has received a {special} gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.


Each of us have been gifted by God with a variety of spiritual gifts.  This verse tells us that our spiritual gifts should be used in such a way as to show forth the manifold grace of God.  It also tells us that we show the grace of God by using our gifts to serve one another.  So that is one way to lay up treasures in heaven.


In addition, we have acquired many talents and learned skills.  These also should be used to lay up treasures in heaven.


Colossians 3:23-24  (NIV) instructs us:


23     Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

24     since you know that you will receive an inheritance [a treasure in heaven] from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.


These can and should be used for the edification and furtherance of the Kingdom of God.  Your talents and skills can also be used for the exact opposite.  And even your Spiritual Gifts can be misused.


Earlier in Matthew 6 we had a couple of lessons on the subject of rewards.  Jesus said that our acts of righteousness, if done correctly, will result in a reward from God.


Look at 1 Corinthians 3:12, which discusses the criteria for reward or lack thereof.  In that Passage, we see the classification of our actions as being either like:


          • gold, silver and precious stones,

or      • wood, hay and straw.


We also discussed that the distinguishing difference is the attitude of our hearts as we used our gifts, talents and skills.  Just as it has been throughout the Sermon on the Mount, it is the heart, and the attitude therein, that sets the follower of Christ apart from the rest of the world.  What is the focus and motive behind how you employ your talents and skills?  That is what counts in laying up treasures in heaven.


Let me share with you a true story.


Two young medical students at the University of Michigan had just finished their classes one day, in the spring of 1883. In a few weeks they would receive their medical degrees. As they relaxed in their room their thoughts naturally moved to what they would do with their lives. "Come on, Will," the first one said, "come to New York with me. We'll make a great team. There are a lot of wealthy people back East - we'll be rich in no time at all. What do you say?"  It was obvious that their conversation was a continuation of discussion that had been going on for several months. "I'm sorry, Ben," Will said, "but the more I think about it ... well, I'd like to practice with you, but …."


"Will, don’t be foolish. The Midwest is a cheap place to study medicine, but no place to practice it - nothing but small towns and farmers. You'll never make a dime out here. Come East with me. We'll travel in Europe, hobnob with the rich. With our talent we can't miss."  Will was silent for moment. "It's a tempting picture you paint, Ben, but what about these people here? They need good doctors, too - even if they can't always pay."


A few weeks later they parted - Ben to New York with his dream of getting rich, and Will headed for Minnesota where he would help his father, a general practitioner, ministering to the sick in the small towns in and around Rochester.  In the years that followed, nothing much was heard of the doctor in New York. As for Will, eventually he did treat the wealthy and powerful from the east like his college friend wanted. But he did not go to New York. Instead, they came to Rochester.


(Oh, did I tell you Will’s last name?  Do you know who I am talking about?)  Will Mayo and his younger brother Charles founded the Mayo Clinic. You and I may not be world-class surgeons but we have talents and abilities that can be invested in something.  Will wasn’t so interested in the money.  He was focused on helping people.  What are you using your talents and skills for -- is it just to accumulate money and possessions or for things having a longer, eternal view.


Each of us has special talents and skills, which can be invested in the Kingdom of God.  Share them with others unselfishly.


4.      Spiritual and emotional energy required to care


Someone has said there are at least four things you can do with your hands.


         • You can wring them in despair.

         • You can fold them in idleness.

         • You can clench them in anger.

         • Or you can use them to help someone.


1 Corinthians. 12:25 instructs those in the Body of Christ to care for one another.  Galatians 6:2 adds: “bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”


At the end of Jesus’ life, in Matthew 25, he said the day would come when all people and nations would stand before him.  For some, this would be a time of banishment.  For others, it would be a time of gathering – where He would say, “enter into the joy of the Lord.”


In verses 35-40,  (NIV)  He would tell these gathered ones:


35     For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

36     I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'


And they would say, “Lord, when did we do those things?”  Then he would explain:



In glory our Lord will reflect back to us his knowledge of things that we did from a pure heart for Christ’s sake, when we were caring about Him and the people he cares about -- even if we were never recognized or seen for the things we did.  That will be an extraordinary day and his words of approval, spoken so that everyone will know,…will never fade.  We will carry them with us eternally.


As Christians, each of us should be letting the Holy Spirit to nurture the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  There are nine fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.  Two of them are character traits that lend themselves to this aspect of laying up treasures in heaven.


        •        Goodness and Kindness


When a Christian has matured the fruits of goodness and kindness, they will, by their transformed nature, expend energy required to care for another.


To enlarge this concept of kindness in our minds let me relate a true story which happened in Oregon.  One day, a sudden, yet subtle, quiet panic began to move through one of our rural congregations.  It all began by the entrance of a man into the back of the sanctuary.  Don’t’ get me wrong – these people welcomed people into their church.


But this person was a “different” sort of man.  No one would have ever expected to see him walking into a Sunday service.  But there he was in his very worn-out shirt and pants.  He wore a tattered overcoat…and his aging, wrinkled face was half hidden by a sparse gray beard.  It showed the many lines of a hard and difficult life.


Arvin was what you might call a rural community skid-row bum.  But he was different from his city counterparts.  Arvin was not an alcoholic as are so many in downtown Seattle.  He lived in a very small cabin and rode a run-down bicycle.  That morning, people tried to avoid staring – and what at first might have been a panic, eased into a mild tension -- you know, the kind that makes you hold your breath.


Everyone knew about Arvin.  He lived in deprivation, although HE wouldn’t have called it that.  His possessions could barely have qualified as sellable at the Goodwill store.  And his body odor alone was enough to make anyone steer clear.


That Sunday, the people probably thought with one mind and one accord:  “Lord, what can we do with an Arvin?”  Most of the people knew that kindness is a chief fruit of the Spirit - a fruit that marked the very beginning of our Lord’s own ministry, when He said: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NIV).


“But what about Arvin,” one person pondered.  “Does this mean I should strike up an ongoing relationship with him?  You know, we did take him a good supply of wood last year to help him through our cold, damp Oregon winter.”  “Wasn’t that kindness?”


Still another was reminded in his heart that each time Paul mentioned kindness, he was speaking of gentle and tender actions - a gentle spirit of compassion and concern.


Still another parishioner remembered the words of Ephesians 2:6-7, which at that moment was stabbing him to the core of his heart and mind.


         “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

           In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”


         Here, kindness is an attribute rooted in the very fiber of God’s character -- and where would I be if it wasn’t for his kindness to me.  “But Lord, he is so different.  And Arvin is always touching and hugging the children.  What if they catch something?”


What I have told you about Arvin is more than an amusing, yet true, story.  I cannot help but wonder what would be our reaction if a similar incident occurred at New Life Church.  Many of us would experience that same subtle panic or uneasiness.  Some may even be repulsed.


Would we remember that if it were not for the kindness of God toward us in saving us we might be walking in that person’s shoes.  Would we remember that God is gentle and kind and for us to manifest gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit is truly to be like God in one of the best of His attributes.


Luke 6:35 very pointedly says:


         “Ye shall be the children of the Highest; for he is kind.”


5.      Words that express approval and encouragement


French philosopher Blaise Pascal once wrote:


         “Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them.

          Bitter words make them bitter and wrathful words make them wrathful.

          But kind words also produce their image on men’s souls –


1Thessalonians 5:11  (NIV) says:


11     Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


Our speech is something we all take for granted. But words have the power to either:


                  •        harm or heal

                  •        destroy or shape

                  •        build or tear down

                  •        to comfort or rip apart.


Proverbs 12:18 says,


         “Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal.”


Proverbs 12:25 adds,


         “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”


Each of us probably know someone who has the special knack of saying just the right thing at the right moment -- and when we are the recipient of such words, it just makes our day.  It was a word “fitly spoken.”


To what extent are you and I healing broken hearts today?  Our timely and kind words can make a difference.  This is something we ought to pray about.  Kind words add to your treasures in heaven.


6.      Grace


Some of you may be wondering why I included this in the list of assets that we can invest in God’s kingdom.  So let me explain.


Each of us has suffered pain that we didn’t deserve at the hands of others.  It could be either something they said or something they did.  People sin against us, sometimes intentionally, a lot of times unintentionally.


We have a choice.  We can choose to strike back, which is the natural response – though not necessarily the right choice, or, we can absorb the impact of the other person’s imperfection.


That is my definition of “Grace.”…..whether God’s grace or ours.  Grace is the willingness to absorb another person’s imperfection.  This may not be the only definition of grace, but it applies in this context.


Certainly that was true with regard to God’s grace toward each of us.  Romans 5 tells us that God loved us and extended his grace to us while we were yet sinners.  Two verse later it add that He extended his grace, although we were his enemy.


We, likewise, can decide to absorb the impact of someone else’s imperfection.  That’s an investment of grace in that person.


2 Corinthians 8:7  (KJV)


7       Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.


Colossians 4:6  (NIV)


6       Let your conversation be always full of grace,…..


Acts of grace is another way of laying up treasures in heaven.  How much are you and I willing to absorb the imperfections of other people?


Look at these six again.


•        money

•        time

•        talents

•        energy to care

•        words

•        grace


Those resources form the personal investment capital that each one of us has at our disposal.  Obviously, some people have more of some than others but no one is bankrupt of any one.  And each of us chooses where we are going to put these treasures and that choice reveals what we really love.


To end this lesson, let me give you three questions by which you can test yourself as to who you are serving.



Ask yourself, "What are my feelings toward material things, material values?


Do I find them very important to me?

Am I deeply disturbed if there is something I want but I cannot have it,……

……or that I have and lose? Does it upset me?

Do I think of myself as a pilgrim, a sojourner passing through this earthly life?

Can I regard these things with a kind of detachment, an objectivity that allows me to use them but not to be bound to them?"


That is the first question, in the realm of the feelings.



Ask yourself, "Do I find it necessary to explain why I have things or want things?

Do I act on impulse and justify it later?

Do I desire something and then seek the reasons why I should have it?

Is my mind, in other words, engaged in the task of rationalizing, justifying that which my emotions desire?"



Let us ask ourselves this question. "Would I honestly exert the same effort to snatch up a spiritual opportunity as I would to take advantage of material one?"