II. THE LORD’S CHARGE
1)“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:19-20). We need to look at this word of the Lord from the viewpoint of laying up material riches. To lay up material riches is to save what is left of a man’s gain after the needs of his living have been met. Here, the Lord charges us not to lay up these surplus riches on the earth, but to lay them up in heaven, that is, to spend them on the heavenly Father, doing such things as helping those in need, thus making friends with them (Luke 16:9) and advancing His gospel (Phil. 1:5).
2)“Charge those who are rich in the present age not to be high-minded, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who affords us all things richly for our enjoyment; to do good, to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying away for themselves as a treasure a good foundation for the future, that they may lay hold on that which is really life” (1 Tim. 6:17-19). This is the apostle’s charge, which is simply the Lord’s charge to us. The rich refers to those who have excess from their gain after the needs of their living have been met. To do good and to be rich in good works refer to distributing the surplus from one’s living to the needy ones. To be rich in doing good and good works is to be ready to distribute and willing to communicate. This is also to lay up treasure in heaven, to lay up as a treasure a good foundation for the future. Doing this will enable one to lay hold on, that is, to possess, to use, and to enjoy, that which is really life, the eternal life of God. To save up the surplus riches from our living on the earth is to lay hold on and make use of our natural life; while to save up the same in heaven, spending it on God, is to lay hold on and employ the eternal life of God.
III. THE LORD’S PROMISE
1)“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will give into your bosom” (Luke 6:38). This is a promise spoken from the Lord’s own mouth. If we are willing to distribute our material wealth to the needy for God’s sake, He will surely give into our bosom that which is rich and plenteous, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. He will not give into our hands that which is scanty and limited. What a profitable deal this is!
2)“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus which He Himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Concerning material riches, human beings, who are deceived by Satan, will only receive and not give. To want to receive and not give is Satan’s ploy, which causes man to lose God’s blessing. The best way to be blessed by God in material riches is to give, not to receive, just as the Lord Himself did for us. Thus, the Lord Himself promised us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Myriads of believers throughout the ages who have believed in the Lord’s word and who have practiced accordingly confirm the trustworthiness of this promise from their experience.
3)“He who sows sparingly, sparingly also shall reap; and he who sows with blessings, with blessings also shall reap” (2 Cor. 9:6). This is a natural law established by the Lord in the biological realm. This law contains His promise. Offering material riches is like sowing. Since sowing eventually brings in reaping, he who sows sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully. In man’s eyes, the offering of material riches is to give away their riches. However, in God’s eyes, such offering is a kind of sowing which will result in reaping. He who offers little shall reap little, and he who offers much shall reap much. We ought to believe in the Lord’s promise in this law.
4)“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10). The “tithes” are the legal amount of offering which God required from the harvest of the Israelites in the Old Testament. The “storehouse” refers to the place in the Old Testament temple where all the offerings to God from His people were stored. My “house” refers to God’s temple in the Old Testament. This word superabundantly displays the infinitely rich promise of God. Although it was spoken to the Israelites in the Old Testament, in principle it applies also to the New Testament believers. If we will fully offer to God what belongs to Him that the church may be richly supplied, God will open the windows of heaven for us and pour out a blessing to us, which there will not be enough room to contain. This is a solemn promise of the Lord of hosts. We can offer to Him according to His promise to prove Him.
(Life Lessons, Vol. 2 (#13-24), Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)