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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of July 2, 2012

For the one who stores treasures on Earth, death is loss, but for the one who stores treasures in Heaven, death becomes gain.

In his longest sermon, known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says this: "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" (Matthew 6:19-20).

Jesus commands us not to store up earthly treasures. Why? Because they're bad? No. Because they won't last!

Jesus makes absolutely clear that all earthly treasures will not last. Either they will leave you while you live, or you will leave them when you die. There are no exceptions.

Jesus tells us not to store up earthly treasures, but amazingly he instead says that we can—indeed, should—store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. It's an amazing concept that we can use our earthly (temporary) treasures in such a way as to assure ourselves heavenly (eternal) treasures.

How can you store up for yourself treasures in heaven? By investing in eternal causes instead of temporary ones—by giving to the poor instead of hording up money for yourself (see 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, and Luke 12:33). By putting your treasures into eternal causes you secure for yourself treasures that can never be lost.

Proverbs 23:5 says, Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Next time you buy something you really care about, imagine it sprouting wings and flying off. That will help you keep an eternal perspective, remembering that every earthly treasure is temporary.

When you die, you will lose every treasure that you have stored up on Earth, but when you die, you will also receive every treasure that you have stored up in heaven. In that way, death is a loss for the one who stores up treasures on Earth, but death is a gain for the one who stores up treasures in Heaven.

Wisdom is to do now what you will be satisfied with later.

From a practical standpoint, wisdom is to do now what you will be satisfied with later.

This means that if you know doing something will be very beneficial later, then you do it now even if you don't want to. The opposite is also true: a person who lacks wisdom will base his or her actions on what feels good right now instead of looking at the long-term picture.

For example, say you want to eat a snack, but you aren't hungry. You might say to yourself, "Well I know I shouldn't eat this, but ... ." And then you decide to keep eating even though you are full. Your actions followed your feelings instead of wisdom, and it's a decision that may lead to results you're not happy with later.

Clearly, wisdom requires using self-control to choose to do what is better. A wise person looks at the end results instead of focusing only on his or her immediate circumstances. In short, wisdom is to do now what you will be satisfied with later.