What “Storing Up Treasures
in Heaven” Really Means
By Randy Kay
“You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.”
People have used this saying for years to explain a simple fact: You can’t take material wealth with you when you die.
Every afterlife survivor I have interviewed, including my own witness in Heaven, states this consistent observation. No one can bring material wealth into eternity. Heaven and hell do not include transferable banks or storage units. Each abode in Heaven outshines even the grandest of homes on earth – but there’s a catch: there will be a distinct difference between those who honored God with their talents, gifts, and wealth, and those who did not.
Jesus warned us about this when He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal…” (Matthew 6:19-20).
Ultimately, the greatest reward in Heaven is closeness to God. In fact, there exists a direct correlation between closeness to God on earth and an exponentially multiplied closeness to God in Heaven. Some like me have even witnessed a greater type of “Holy Spirit impartation” in Heaven to those who drew closer to God during their lives on earth, as reflected in what some term a “halo effect,” which is further explained as an overflowing emittance of the Holy Spirit’s power within residents of Heaven.
That “super effect” of the Holy Spirit’s impartation in Heaven translated into greater abilities to create, experience joy, rejoice, and express talents that were carried over from one’s earthly life. Those who dabbled in art could create masterpieces, for example. Amateur writers in Heaven could outdo Shakespeare in effect. And disabled persons could soar through Heaven at the speed of lightning. The proportionality of these glorified gifts and talents related directly to one’s closeness to God while living on earth.
The sacrificing of wealth and talents in service to God in this life also correlated to this so-called “halo effect” of increased rewards in Heaven. Whatever one gave in service to God – whether in effort, wealth, or time – was exchanged in Heaven for both closeness to God and enhanced abilities in Heaven. In banking terms, the return on investment (ROI) was greater than a zillion-to-one.
How to Increase the “Halo Effect”
in Heavenly Rewards
Here are some ways to increase your “halo effect” in Heaven while on Earth:
1. Avoid an obsessive accumulation of wealth.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wealth. God is the one who generously gives people success with resources and money (Ecclesiastes 5:19). But when we become more concerned about the gifts rather than the giver; possessions become toxic and pointless (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Obsession with wealth ruins our relationship with God and with other people.
God cares more about the condition of our hearts than the condition of our bank accounts. That’s why God encourages us to be cheerful givers.
2. Spend your greatest resource (time) on God.
If we spend most of our time investing in the things of this world, what treasure will we have in Heaven? There must be a difference between time spent in work and play, versus time spent dwelling on the things of God and our attention to people.
Our time on Earth is temporary, and we are all headed to an eternity in Heaven or (God forbid) hell, based on our having a relationship with Jesus Christ. So, why not make our relationship to God foremost? We can make the most of everything now and prepare for an eternity with God later, by listening to Jesus and doing what He says.
You’ve probably heard the saying: “Don’t be so heavenly-minded that you’re no earthly good.” May I suggest the opposite? “Don’t be so earthly-minded that you are not heavenly.” What’s valuable both now and in eternity is what God cares about: treating people right, forgiveness, and loyalty (Matthew 23:23, Micah 6:8). We’re meant to use possessions and love people; not to love possessions and use people. Our eternal perspective affects our earthly priorities.
Those of us who have witnessed the afterlife have generally stated the same regret: “I wish that I had spent more time with God, in service to Him and others.” All of these afterlife survivors returned to this life with a renewed vigor to serve the Lord and all who are created in His image.
We can choose to focus our lives on temporary wealth and status enhancers, but God offers us treasures that last forever: a relationship with Him that begins here and continues for eternity in Heaven.
Joy is the “ethos” of Heaven, and those whose joy is in the Lord and not in the things of this world will feel right at home in Heaven. What is the cost of devoting our time and resources to God? Absolutely everything (of ourselves), in return for more than the sum of wealth in the entire world.
There’s a tendency to think that “Treasures in Heaven” only refers to donations and being generous with others. There is certainly an element of truth to this. Christian ministries can only survive if those who benefit from them give money. We see this emphasized in several places in the Bible, including:
- When Jesus encouraged his followers to sell their possessions and give to the needy (Luke 12:32-33)
- When Jesus asked people to give to others who cannot repay them (Luke 14:13-14)
In these two examples, Jesus references receiving “Treasures in Heaven” and “being repaid” when He returns. Thus, we can see that storing up “Treasures in Heaven” does include giving to the Christian organizations that minister to you, and to nonprofits and those in need. But there is more.
There is more to laying up “Treasures in Heaven” than giving away our money and possessions. It also includes living for God’s glory and the good of others. Let’s take a closer look at what this means.
The Bible refers to many ways Christians can store up “Treasures in Heaven” or “rewards,” including:
- Loving your enemies (Matthew 5:43-48)
- Praying (Matthew 6:5-6)
- Serving the Lord and His people (Matthew 10:41-42; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Hebrews 6:10)
- Enduring persecution for Christ’s sake (Matthew 5:11-12; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 2 Timothy 4:8)
From just these verses, we see that “rewards” are also associated with living and loving like Jesus. So, the closer we get to Jesus in this world, the closer we will be with Jesus in Heaven. And the closer to God in Heaven, the more glorious will be our relationship with Him and with others in Heaven, as well.
I will never forget how in Heaven, I related to others in Heaven with absolute love. Gone were all the negative feelings. But then I realized that my love for people was directly proportional to my love for God. It was 1 John 4:19 in action: “We love because He first loved us.” Not only does Heaven imbue us with God’s Love, but the indwelling power of love as expressed through God can only be obtained by connecting to that power source.
So, what does giving have to do with “plugging into God’s Holy Spirit?” Remember that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), so giving it to others liberates us from the chains of hoarding that money.
Do you remember the Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol? Once Ebenezer Scrooge learned the value of giving, he gained joy. Again, joy is the “ethos” of Heaven – and there are no banks in Heaven, hence no money in Heaven.
True wealth is obtained by investing in “Treasures in Heaven,” the things of God, and God’s creations, including His most beloved creation: people.
You are eternally rewarded when you:
- Worship God
- Forgive someone
- Share the gospel
- Love your enemies
- Endure insults and persecutions
When it comes to rewards, the greatest reward every follower of Christ will receive is this: Knowing God face-to-face (Matthew 5:8; Revelation 22:4). You could have thrown me into a trash bin after I witnessed Jesus face-to-face, but if Jesus was in that trash bin with me, I would have been continually overjoyed!
I have a question for you.
Do you love God for what He does for you, or because He abides within you via His Holy Spirit?
This question really points to the depth of your relationship with God, which tells you about your level of inheritance in Heaven.
Would you rather be a rich person or a persecuted person? The answer may surprise you.
The rich young man loved his money more than God in Matthew 19:16–30, a fact that Jesus made clear. The issue wasn’t that the young man was rich but that he “treasured” his riches and did not “treasure” his relationship with Christ. Jesus told the man to sell his possessions and give to the poor, “and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (verse 21).
The young man became sad because he loved his riches more than Jesus. He chose this world’s treasures and so did not lay up treasures in Heaven. He was unwilling to make Jesus his treasure. The young man was very religious, but Jesus exposed his heart of greed.
The Bible mentions rewards that await the believer who serves the Lord faithfully in this world (Matthew 10:41). Those rewards are spiritual, not natural. They return worldly wealth with relationship wealth and enhanced abilities. Most think of Heaven’s reward as a bigger mansion, but the word “mansion” referenced in John 14:2-3 is more accurately translated as “a dwelling place.” A dwelling place is described as where one’s heart is, not where one’s abode lies.
A “great” reward is promised to those who are persecuted for Jesus’ sake, and the greatest reward is one’s place with Jesus. Those who are persecuted for Christ’s sake are more devoted to God than they are to their own possessions or even their own life. Various crowns are mentioned in (2 Timothy 4:8). Jesus says that He will bring rewards with Him when He returns (Revelation 22:12).
We are to treasure the Lord Jesus most of all. That requires a condition of the heart. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When Jesus is our treasure, we will commit our resources — our money, our time, our talents — to His work in this world.
Our motivation for what we do is important (1 Corinthians 10:31). Paul tells us that God creates an eternal reward for those who are motivated to serve Christ: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24).
Jesus told us to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). He linked this command to the desire of our hearts: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21; see also verses 10–20).
Spiritual Heart Health Directly Relates to Giving
Perhaps the greatest indicator of the health of our spiritual heart is the link between our spiritual heart and our commitment to giving. Consider that the Bible mentions the act of giving over 100 times. The Bible has a lot to say about giving!
Jesus declares that our attitude toward money directly relates to the focus of our hearts: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). It is helpful to look at our various financial accounts and observe how we spend our money. Our love for God and His work will show up in how we give our money away.
The Bible gives some helpful principles to guide us in how we think about, and how we give our money:
1. God owns everything and gives His things, including money, to whomsoever He chooses.
Consider Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Consider also Proverbs 22:2, “Rich and poor have this in common: the Lord is the Maker of them all.” The reality is that all we have is from God, and He gives according to His purposes and plans. The question should never be “How much of my money should I give away?” but “How would God have me use His money?”
2. How we spend and give away God’s money and our talents is an act of worship.
Colossians 3:17 commands us to do everything for God’s glory – whatever we do. Thus, when we give our money and talents, we must be confident that what we’re doing glorifies God and honors Him. This includes our charitable giving to Christian and Bible-honoring ministries. It also includes volunteer work to help ministries, and those who depend on our giving, to multiply their effects. It also includes what we do with all of the monies and talents entrusted to us by God.
3. Giving to Christian ministries is commanded by God.
1 Corinthians 16:1–2 addresses the need for giving: “Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up.” Consistent giving to the ministry is a directive of God to Christians.
4. Giving is to be done with the Holy Spirit’s leading, sacrifice, charitableness, and joy.
We are to prayerfully consider how much to give based upon our income (1 Corinthians 16:2). Along these lines, 2 Corinthians 9:6–7 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Prayerfulness, generosity, sacrifice, and joy are all part of giving. We are to be “cheerful” in our giving. It’s easy to be joyful when singing praise songs to God. This same joy should be present in our giving. We have an example of sacrificial giving in the Macedonians, who gave even in their “severe trial,” “extreme poverty,” and “beyond their ability” (2 Corinthians 8:1–9).
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were commanded to give about 23 percent of their annual income to support the Levites (Leviticus 27:30); to fund celebrations such as Passover (Deuteronomy 12:10–18); and to help the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28–29). These commands included two tithes (the giving of 10 percent) and a third of a tithe to charities. The giving was a legal requirement within Israel’s practices.
On top of their required giving, God directed the Israelites to give “freewill” offerings. Deuteronomy 16:10 explains that they were to give a “freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you.” It is this directive that we most commonly follow today. There is no tithe required today, but our gifts are more like freewill offerings. After prayer and thoughtfulness, we give as we feel led by the Holy Spirit. Believers have freedom in this area of worship. As the Lord prospers us, we should consider giving more, because no one can ever “outgive” God.
5. Our giving is to be done humbly.
Jesus warned us against giving with boastfulness or in a fashion that would draw attention to ourselves. He told us, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3). Our giving should “be in secret” (verse 4). And we have the promise that “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (verse 4). God the Father’s reward will surely be better than the adulations of people!
6. As we give to honor God sacrificially, generously, and joyfully, God promises blessings.
The one who gives generously also reaps generously (2 Corinthians 9:6). Proverbs 22:9 states, “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” And Jesus says in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
In our giving to honor God, we build up “Treasures in Heaven.” As I stated earlier, heavenly treasures reward us with what matters most: closeness to God, joy, purposefulness, “koinonia” relationships, and peace.
We do not seek worldly prosperity, but we rest assured that God will reward and bless us somehow, someday. Perhaps the blessing will come here on Earth, but it will most definitely come in glory.
In Philippians 4:18, Paul describes the Philippians’ financial gifts to him as “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” The Body of Christ’s practical help of Paul’s ministry was noticed by God and it was pleasing to Him. We, too, can be faithful stewards of God’s gifts in our giving.
‘Tis the Season to Give
Christmas season typically represents the most generous time of giving of the year. Part of that can be attributed to end of year tax write-offs under the “donations” column. My personal belief is that despite all the commercialization, the Spirit of Christ remains at the heart of Christmas.
The Spirit of giving will always be central to God’s Holy Spirit. God gave birth to humankind and all the beauty that entails life. Jesus gave life to all who would receive His sacrifice on the cross through repentance and surrender to Christ. God gave us the Holy Spirit to dwell within the believer, to direct his or her ways. And finally, God gave His children an eternal home with Him in Heaven – paradise.
God did not have to do any of those things. He could have just settled into paradise with the angels who adored Him. But as I learned in Heaven from the Holy Spirit, God desired a family. As a believer in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are part of the family for which God gave His all – and ultimately His Son.
Giving reflects the heart of God. Sometimes giving can be painful, but if given for the right reasons, the long-term benefits will outweigh all of the sacrifices. Just as we love because God first loved us, we give because God first gave to us.
Let us therefore rejoice, beloved of the Lord Jesus Christ, because the true gift of Christmas is indeed, Jesus Christ. Jesus gave each believer the promise of eternal life. I and others are witnesses of the eternal rewards you will reap in eternity as a child of God in Heaven, and they are far more than any superlative I can express. We can never give to others more than God gave to us, even if we were to give everything.
But alas, our time to give is running out. Today you and I are one day closer to eternity apart from this world. On that day when our body starts turning to ashes following our final breath, our wealth will mean “diddly-squat.” What we did with our temporal possessions will return an eternal reward in Heaven. Eternal wealth is what we need to gain.
My prayer for you today is that on the day you breathe your last breath on Earth, you will have died a rich man or woman in Heaven.
– Randy Kay
Founder & President of Randy Kay Ministries,
Host of the Revelations From Heaven podcast and the Heaven Encounters television program, author of the books Heaven Stormed, Revelations From Heaven, and Dying to Meet Jesus…and nothing of that matters except if any of these have served YOU!
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In Christ’s Love,Randy
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