He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? Luke 16:10-12 (NKJV)
Jesus explains that God sees the money and possessions He gives us as a test of our faithfulness. There are a couple of things about this passage that stand out to me. Jesus says that we are to be faithful in the small matters. In other words what we have with our wealth and possession is a little bit. The little bit we have is also temporary. Now we all know that this is true. When we die whatever wealth and possessions we have collected are left here and passed on to other people.
We also see from this passage that there is potential for us to receive what Jesus calls true riches of heaven. What are these true riches of heaven? Jesus doesn’t really give us a detailed explanation of this. However from other places in Scripture I think we can conclude that the true riches of heaven would include rewards that we will receive in heaven as well as some sort of tangible blessings in this life.
The Bible tells us that there will come a day when we will stand before Jesus and give an account of whether or not we have been faithful with what He has given us. Our faithfulness now determines our rewards then.
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (NKJV)
When we are saved the foundation of Jesus Christ is laid in our lives. From that day onward we begin to build on that foundation. We get to choose what kind of materials we will use to build with. We can build with valuable materials or we can build with not so valuable materials. What we choose to build with is important because there will come a day when our building materials will be tested with fire. The way we build on the foundation of Jesus Christ is simply the way we live our lives. We build on this foundation constantly throughout our lives. The test that is described here shows how faithful we have been with the things that Jesus has given us in our lives.
If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:14-15 (NKJV)
The way I picture this happening is that all of the things we have done in our lives from the day we were saved until this day will be represented by one of these two types of materials. They will be piled up and then set on fire. What we often don’t think about is that the things we have done includes the way we have handled the money and possessions that God has given us. This isn’t just a test to see if we were faithful to go to church, read our Bible, pray and witness. This is a test to see if we were faithful in every area of our lives including the wealth and possessions that God entrusted to us in this life.
Those things that are gold, silver and precious jewels will survive the fire while everything else will be burned up. The things that are left show our faithfulness. We will then be rewarded based on how faithful we have been in our lives. I do want you to see here that this test doesn’t determine our eternal destiny. We are either saved or we are not. This test doesn’t determine our salvation. Instead it reveals how faithful we were with the things that God has invested in our lives.
One thing that stands out to me about this is how absolute this day of accountability will be. On this day we will stand alone before God and give an absolute account of whether or not we have been faithful to Him. We won’t be able to rationalize or justify our lack of faithfulness. We won’t be able to make ourselves appear to be more faithful than we actually are. The full and accurate measure of our faithfulness will right there for us to see. I don’t know about you, but for me this is a pretty challenging thought.
As I said I also believe that the true riches of heaven include tangible blessings in this life. I can’t really give you specific things that it could be, but I do think it would be things that have eternal value. Of course that is also true of rewards in heaven. I understand that the Bible says we will receive rewards in heaven, I just don’t fully understand what they will be. What we do know is that we will miss out on these true riches if we are not faithful with our money and possessions. Jesus said that if we can’t be trusted to be faithful with our little, temporary bit of wealth and possessions, then He won’t trust us to be faithful with the true, eternal riches of heaven.
When God looks at our wealth and possessions He sees them as a test that shows our faithfulness.
Do you ever consider that your wealth and possession as tests of your faithfulness to Jesus?
Knowing that God sees our wealth and possessions as tests of our faithfulness, how should we use them?