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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of February 4, 2019

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.

God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.

At its heart, the Gospel is the story of a God who so deeply loves you and me that he was willing to humble himself, to suffer, and to pay the ultimate price just so that we could personally know him. We were powerless; there was nothing we could do to know God. Yet, he loved us so much that he gave us an opportunity to know him.

Romans 5:6-8 gets at the heart of how deeply God loves us: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We didn't earn or deserve God's love (we were still powerless and we were still sinners). However, God loved us anyway, because God is love (1 John 4:8) -- that is, his nature is love. God can't help but to love us, because that's what he is.

In Ephesians 2:4-5, Paul writes about the nature of God's love for us: Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved.

Nothing you do can cause you to earn or deserve God's love. You can't earn God's love, but he loves you anyway -- that's why it's called grace. God loves you, because he is love not because you have earned his love.

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