Frank Nihart, minister of music at First Baptist DeRidder, is also a talented writer. This devotion is worthy of reading. Thanks Frank for sharing with us.
Gold or Crowns?
By Frank J. Nihart
A few weeks ago I heard a report saying that the price of gold was approaching $2,000 an ounce. That seems impossible. The report also said that the price of gold had quadrupled over the last ten years. For thousands of years, gold has been a world wide measure of wealth. Currency comes and goes, but gold has always been a universal standard for measuring economic strength.
Too bad none of that matters when you get ready to leave this world. Except for the fact that we want to leave our spouses and children in good financial condition when we die, how much money or wealth we have should matter little to us as Christians. It is engrained in our culture to “get” all we can and keep as much of it as we can for ourselves.
Zachheus, the “wee little man”, mentioned in Matthew 19, is a good example of how Jesus can change a life. He was a tax collector who, by nature, took all he could from anyone he could. But when Jesus changed him he vowed to give half his money to the poor. Beyond that, he said he would repay four times anyone he had wronged. Zaccheus is the opposite of the “rich young ruler” mentioned in the same chapter. This young man kept all the commandments from his childhood but he went away grieving because he was unwilling to give up his possessions for Christ.
In this world, thieves can rob us. Swindlers can trick us. Illness, poor investing, mismanagement and other influences can leave us in economic shambles. But there is a way we can have treasures even after we leave this world. We can’t take it with us but we can send it ahead of us.
There are two types of accounts for Christians: The one we have in banks here on earth and the one we have in heaven. Jesus said that we should “accumulate” things for our account in heaven. (Matthew 6:19-20) The things He referred to are not material but spiritual. He called them treasures. These treasures are made from relationships; our relationship with Him and with the people in our lives.
On earth we think of money in terms of dollars and cents. In heaven, the accounts hold “crowns”. Jesus said to show Him our love by “keeping His commandments.” The greatest commandment He gave us was to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. When we show Jesus that we love Him, crowns are deposited in our “heavenly account”. These crowns are not gained by our efforts to be good. A Jesus-like lifestyle occurs because He has been invited to replace our human, selfish lifestyle.
You may wonder what the crowns are for. According to scripture, we will lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus. After all, we owe Him everything. “God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him will not be separated from God but will have eternal life.” Our motivation and inspiration is to live our lives with that “heavenly account” in mind.
It’s all up to you. So, what’s it going to be: gold or crowns?