This is a “story” song encouraging us to live for God and do kingdom work during all our days here on earth — regardless of what fields we end up working in. The song combines ideas from a Billy Graham devotional article and a wonderful little book, “The Treasure Principle”, by Randy Alcorn in which he expands on Matthew’s gospel speaking about seeking treasures in heaven. In his book, Alcorn defines “the Treasure Principle” this way:
“Jesus takes that profound truth, ‘You can’t take it with you’ and adds a stunning qualification. By telling us to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven, He gives us a breathtaking corollary, which I call the Treasure Principle: You can’t take it with you —
but you CAN send it on ahead.” [from “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn]
Please give this song a sing-along listen and come back for more on rewards and incentives with a view to living for God right now — and always.
Motivate with honey or vinegar?
“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Wise parents (and teachers, managers — anyone tasked with shaping behavior in others) apply that idea when they:
1. Make sure the “kid” KNOWS what behavior is correct — and expected
— and —
2. REWARD behavior they want to see more of.
Someone might say “You should do what’s right just because it’s right. I should not need to bribe you with rewards.”
Let’s look at that idea. First of all, a bribe is payment given to pervert judgement. Do you really think recognizing and rewarding a child’s proper action — especially in a training relationship — is going to cause him to lie or cheat?
We DO want to help kids develop good hearts and attitudes along with good habits and behavior that they will do on their own — even when no one is watching. Offering incentives of recognition and rewards can most certainly help get us there.
When it comes to obeying God, someone might try the same argument — that rewards should NOT be a motive for our behavior. But this time they would have to take it up with God Himself, because rewards are HIS idea.
Future rewards and treasures in the Bible
God has the best ideas. One of His great ideas is to tell people about rewards and treasures that will be received in the life to come for things they do to honor and serve Him now.
Does God want us to consider rewards as we make life decisions now? YES!
God could have set things up — and it would not have been unreasonable — that we should learn His will and just do it — end of story. But God set it up so that living for Him now brings benefits. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later.
For example, when we use the spiritual abilities given to us with the new birth we cultivate and produce more and more “fruit of the spirit” – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. That is “kingdom-style” sowing and reaping in action. In God’s creation, things just love to grow!
We were created in Christ Jesus unto good works, Ephesians declares. The Lord sees to it that good works we do here increase our “heavenly account” — which we’ll enjoy forever. What a wonderful Lord!
Here are some of the rewards mentioned in the Bible:
Definitions for “crown” include:
a reward for achievement;
a recognition of authority and/or honor that has been given to the person;
a recognition of victory.
- Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
Given to those who strive for mastery over worldly pleasure, to be “temperate in all things.”
- Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
Given to those who bring others to Christ — the “soul-winner’s crown”
- Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8)
Given to those who eagerly look forward to Jesus Christ’s coming.
- Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4)
Given to faithful shepherds of God’s people — a reward for those who answer the call to lead and guide.
- Crown of Life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10)
Given to those who endure persecution, pain, even martyrdom but remain faithful to the end.
Matthew 6 — lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven
This is a rich section where Jesus teaches on durable rewards. Here is a brief excerpt: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust do corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust do corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”
♫♪ Send Treasures To Heaven ♫♪
Though our song takes some poetic liberties (much like a parable does) it has a lot of literal truth in it. The word translated “mansions” used in some Bibles (and therefore used in many hymns) may have meant something more like “room” or “apartment”, but not a big, expensive fancy house the way we understand it today. But some sort of marvelous dwelling space designed by our magnificent Lord is promised. We know our dwellings will be good.
Can Grandpa really help Jesus build for his grandchild? Maybe not, but in this song, he actually does just that by another means — not by dying, going straight to heaven and grabbing a hammer, but by teaching and encouraging his grandchild to live for the Lord right now and through all his days — and thereby causing him to send more treasure on ahead. The love in this grandpa’s heart is sweet honey that wins. No vinegar here!
I’ll close with this quote:
“He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep,
when he is sure to be recompensed
with that which he cannot lose.”
(English clergyman Philip Henry – 1631-1696)
Trading any part of this brief life for everlasting rewards seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Let’s do kingdom work during every bit of the lives we have left, and let’s teach the next generation to do the same. These are days to work for the Lord and to send treasures to heaven.
God bless you lots!
LYRICS: Send Treasures To Heaven
Song by Dale Reichel (2021)
1. Grandpa lay peaceful his time nearly done.
He looked up toward Heaven then smiled at me.
Grandpa said, I look forward to working up there,
Though I don’t know what manner of work it will be.
2. Dear child I’ll ask Jesus if I may assist
As he builds the mansion He’s promised to you.
I’d love to help make your new home a delight
So there’s something I want to ask you to do
Be sure you send up plenty of the right materials.
Every day share your faith, live with hope, walk in love.
Don’t skimp on your mansion He’s building for you.
Now’s your time to send treasures to Heaven above.
3. As you plan how on earth to pay for your learning,
As you learn what on earth is the best use of you,
As you plot how on earth you’ll be able to retire
There is something I want to ask you to do
4. Guard your heart and your time. Lead others to Jesus.
In Jesus’s name there’s much good work to do.
Materials like these may be sent on up ahead
Where no moth or thief can steal or break through.
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Recording first posted June 17, 2021