The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      During an extensive home renovation project a few years ago, we completely rebuilt the roof on our house. I don’t mean that we simply removed and replaced the shingles or that we repaired a few sections of the decking material. Rather, we took the entire roof off of the wall plate and set new rafters at a steeper pitch in order to allow for the construction of an attic room complete with dormers.     
      The old decking was 3/4“(11/16”) sheets of plywood rather than the 1/2” (7/16”) decking typically used in construction today. The old rafters were 2’ x 6’ x 20’ boards that had been doubled. In other words, some serious lumber had been used in the original construction of the house that we were renovating.
      Recognizing that the replacement value of the used lumber was in the thousands of dollars, coupled with my desire to build a carport, prompted me to stack the roof decking and rafter boards under some trees near the place where the carport was to be built. These stacks were covered with multiple tarps. Periodically, I would check the boards to see if they were still solid and in good shape. Inasmuch as the end of the boards that were somewhat exposed to the weather appeared fine, I assumed that the sections that were well-covered by the tarps were also in good condition.     
      After about 4 ½ years, I was ready to begin construction on the carport and new shed. Much to my dismay, I removed the tarps to discover that the majority of the rafter boards had been reduced to dried up and powdery wood particles. The cause of the decay was TERMITES! In my attempt to store stacks of used lumber until I could get around to building a carport and new shed, I had actually provided a situation that was well-suited for numerous termite colonies to live and thrive.
      In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus instructed his disciples with, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). Granted, Jesus did not include termites among the list of destructive forces [unless “thieves (that) steal” includes termites]. Nonetheless, I immediately thought of this verse when I removed the tarps from the stack of boards. The end result of my attempt to “store up” building materials (even if well-intentioned) was destruction and decay.        
      While numerous examples of storing up treasures on earth could be catalogued, I would submit that hoarding possessions that might be better deployed to provide a blessing to someone else could be included in such a list. Perhaps allowing a past accomplishment, award, recognition, or victory to become a hammock that promotes inactivity and complacency rather than considering the past as a springboard for the future while failing to use one’s time and talents for God’s glory might also be considered improper storing up of treasures.
      Rather than storing up treasures on earth, Jesus presented the proper approach to handling treasures as “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21). Inasmuch as everything we have actually belongs to God (Psalm 24:1), we must strive to utilize our time, talents, and treasures in a manner that will honor the One who owns all that is “ours” in the first place.     
      Within the context of financial stewardship, we often tend to focus solely on current income. While we do receive the challenge presented in Malachi to “prove me now, herewith, says the Lord” concerning the blessings that follow faithful and obedient giving of tithes and offerings, we also are reminded in Proverbs 3:9 to “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your harvest.” In other words, careful and prayerful stewardship of both current income and estate assets (“wealth”) is presented as proper and appropriate when honoring God. Neglecting to include wealth/estate assets when planning for the future may result in missing blessings associated with the single greatest opportunity for financial stewardship that you and I will have in the course of our lifetime.

      Concerning the stewardship of your estate assets, the good news is that you can “give it twice” by blessing BOTH the people AND the ministries/charities that you love and support. This “Family and Faith” or “Kids and the Kingdom” approach can be achieved through a Last Will and Testament or any end-of-life document that is properly prepared. Be challenged and encouraged to avoid rust, moths, thieves, and termites as you store up treasures in heaven in the present and leave a legacy of love for the future.


Dear Heavenly Father: As I seek first Your Kingdom, may I be faithful in the stewardship of everything that you have entrusted to my care. May I store up treasures in heaven even as I recognize that the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of Your glory and grace. May I encourage others to do likewise. Amen.